New green bins kicking up a stink

NO THANKS: Council candidate Andrea Metcalf is leading a charge to help people apply for exemptions from the city's organic waste collection. Picture: DARREN HOWE

NO THANKS: Council candidate Andrea Metcalf is leading a charge to help people apply for exemptions from the city's organic waste collection. Picture: DARREN HOWE

The City of Greater Bendigo will become the first council in the region to collect kerbside organic waste in September – but not everyone is happy with the scheme.

In fact, some are outraged and at least one says they’ve taken council to the Human Rights Commission. 

A group of would-be councillors have arranged a series of community meetings this week – attended by more than 100 people – to help angry residents apply for exemptions from the new green bins. 

As of Friday, the city confirmed 1915 people had applied for exemptions. 

Council candidate Andrea Metcalf reckons she has assisted about 300 of them. 

“I’ve been getting 70 calls a day since last Friday, plus emails,” Ms Metcalf said. 

The Epsom resident says she manages her own waste with chooks, dogs, compost and a private green waste service and is advising others – particularly the elderly – to buy compost bins to meet the exemption criteria. Even if they don’t plan on using it. 

“I had a 92-year-old go out and buy a compost bin,” she said. 

“In my experience there are two groups of people who are upset by this, those already managing their waste and who don’t need any help from council, and the elderly who don’t really produce waste anyway.” 

Many of those involved in the meetings stress they are not against an organic waste collection service but rail against the way it has been rolled out.

The statutory exemption which those who opt out must sign declaring they will not dispose of organic waste in general waste bins has riled many. 

“A person at the Eaglehawk meeting was given the exemption but they refused to sign the stat dec because they have a disability,” Ms Metcalf said. 

“They said, ‘look I can't always guarantee I'll be able.’”

But others are less accommodating of the scheme entirely. 

Event organiser Colin Burns told a member of the Strathfieldsaye audience on Thursday the only way to change the scheme was if a whole lot of people opted out forcing the contractor to walk away. 

”Otherwise we're locked in,” Mr Burns said. 

“So that's why we are saying get an exemption, don't be part of the scheme.”