An organic “waste” of money

By Yarrawonga Chronicle

A Wilby resident who uses all his organic waste to improve the vegetation on his property is against paying for an organic waste collection he will never use. 

Rhys Dyer argues he does not see any of his organic matter as waste but a resource.

“I can’t reason to donate it to council and pay them to take it away,“ Mr Dyer said. 

“To me it’s a ‘no brainer’. Whilst I speak solely for myself, I have good reason to believe that the same conditions obtain for my neighbours.

“As there is no organic waste to collect, clearly it is preposterous to pretend that collecting it will have the slightest effect on the anticipated lifespan of any landfill site.

“Given the clear lack of need for this collection, I trust that if the service does in fact go ahead, its adoption will be voluntary, not compulsory.”

The kerbside organic waste bin collection service will be provided to all residential properties in Moira Shire by October this year. 

The first phase was rolled out in December 2014 to major towns including Yarrawonga, Cobram, Numurkah and Nathalia. Unserviced areas in these towns will now receive the service in September.  

The second stage will see smaller towns such as Bundalong, St James and Wilby receive the service in October.

Having assessed the proposal, Mr Dyer immediately wrote an email of objection stating:

‘‘The service is not needed in Wilby. Every scrap of organic ‘waste’ on my property, I compost.

“No organic matter leaves my property, it is all used to generate high-quality fertiliser, which I use to improve the vegetation on that property. The organic matter is not waste at all, it is a resource, one which I see no reason to donate to the council, and I most certainly see no reason to pay the council to take that resource away.

“I suggest that instead of trying to finance the collection by extending it to others who don’t need it, you increase the charge to those who do. 

“In short, the assertion that this move is proposed as a step to protect the environment is pure ‘greenwash’.”

As well as objecting to the proposal Mr Dyer listed several observations Moira Shire Council made in support of their proposal and grouped them into several assertions of which he addressed in his letter.

The existing organic collection service is successful. “Well, quite possibly. But that is no basis for expanding such a service from where it is perhaps relevant (the urban environment) into areas where it is not (the rural environment),” Mr Dyer said. 

Landfills are costly and a limited resource.  “They most certainly are.  As they should be. But where there is no organic matter to collect, none can be currently destined for landfill, nor will any be in the future,” Mr Dyer responded. 

“Since I have been a Moira Shire ratepayer, I have never deposited organic material in the roadside bins for collection by the shire, it’s far too valuable for making compost and I believe others in the neighbourhood will be of the same opinion. 

“The proposed service can make no difference at all to the lifespan of any landfill site.

“So far my comments have largely been reactive, and unfortunately necessarily somewhat negative.

“I personally would not presume to instruct others how to behave, but here’s a positive suggestion: If you are going to attempt to coerce ratepayers into following some form of action, why not compel those not living in an urban environment to compost all organic material?”

On Monday, this week Mr Dyer confirmed he had received a response from council about his objection but was still not satisfied with their response stating; “the reply has failed to deal in any substantive way with the points I raised in my objection.”

In a fact sheet provided to residents, council highlighted the positive environmental outcomes of the green waste collection.  

It states that the organic material produces methane gas as it breaks down in landfill – which is 25 times worse than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. And by introducing the service it reduces what goes into landfill. 

It also states that Cobram is the only remaining landfill site in the shire and in order to extend its life council need to divert as much waste as possible.

In the meantime, council will continue to roll out the service with 240 wheelie bins to be delivered to residential homes along with a small kitchen caddy and a roll of compostable bags in un-serviced areas around Yarrawonga, Tungamah and other major towns by mid-August and then by mid-September to smaller towns such as Bundalong, St James and Wilby.