Council trials commercial organics collection in Bendigo

Sixteen food businesses in the Bendigo CBD are trialling an organic waste collection with the City of Greater Bendigo.

During the four-month trial, each business will have two 140-litre organics bins collected twice a week.

Sim'R chef Shane McCloud says having an organics bin has been "wonderful". Picture: NONI HYETT

Sim'R chef Shane McCloud says having an organics bin has been "wonderful". Picture: NONI HYETT

The council’s resource recovery development co-ordinator, Bridgette McDougall, said the trial would ascertain what worked and did not work for businesses.

“The trial is being run to determine the needs of the commercial businesses because we know that there are challenges around frequency needed, space for bins and education,” Ms McDougall said.

She said it was expected some 30 tonnes of organic waste would be diverted from the landfill over the course of the trial.

“From our commercial collections we would see about 1,200 tonnes of organic material going to landfill each year, however we don’t service all commercial businesses in the municipality so this figure will only be a portion of what is going to landfill in total,” Ms McDougall said.

Johnny’s Fruit and Veggies owner Johnny Xue said prior to the trial, he had to take organic waste home, or occasionally farmers would collect it to feed stock.

Failing that, he said he would have to dispose of it in the general waste bins, but could easily fill four bins.

He said the organics collection made things “a lot easier”, but he felt the benefit lay mostly with those who would be able to purchase compost made with the material.

At the cafe Sim'R, chef Shane McCloud said the organics bins had halved the amount of matter going into the general rubbish bin.

He said it also had an impact on the efficiency of the kitchen, with staff no longer having to empty bins as often.

“It’s just been wonderful,” he said.

Manager Grace Blakemore said she thought staff also enjoyed knowing that all the food scraps were no longer going into rubbish.

The cafe already promotes sustainable practices, with staff taking home coffee grounds for gardens, recyclable takeaway cups and reuseable coffee cups for sale.

Miss Blakemore said the council had been great in implementing the trial, coming up with a half-size bin for use in the kitchen where space was a concern.

There have been some small hiccups reported.

But Mr Xue said he did not have a good place to store the bins and they were kept in the arcade walkway, leaving them open to misuse by passers-by. Cleaning also proved an issue.