From the moment Greater Shepparton City Council’s organics program was announced, there were, perhaps predictably, unhappy residents.
Green lid bins were wheeled out to properties, with accompanying kitchen caddy and residents asked to separate and dispose of food waste into a separate pile.
Concerns were raised about the fee enforced for properties to make use of the green bins, regardless of whether they already composted or not.
And the council’s approach has been fairly hardline, whether issuing warnings to those not playing ball with the program, threatening to cut off the service, or even watching on through garbage trucks with mounted cameras.
Now, a couple of years on, the program’s detractors have largely disappeared.
The negativity has largely dissolved as the municipality has grown accustomed to using the service.
It has clearly, by and large, become second nature for most ratepayers by now.
The latest contamination rate, for September, should offer an indication of how, over two years, residents have grown familiar with the program.
In September last year, the council diverted an extra 222tonnes from landfill to compost compared to the previous September.
Then, last month 650 tonnes of organic waste was sent back to earth, while the council reported its lowest contamination rate since the program began.
In reality, this figure doesn’t say a great deal beyond an indication of how successfully Greater Shepparton residents disposed of correct waste through correct channels.
And while the numbers have been up and down during the past two years, the broader performance trend has this year improved.
What it does indicate is that the council’s education efforts in ensuring the program is effective are paying off.
The council should be commended in the proactivity shown in pushing forward with the program, given its positive environmental outcomes and the long-term financial savings that will be forthcoming.
The volume already diverted presents a valuable saving for the council, and has already served to extend the life of Cosgrove Two landfill
It seems like the message is getting through.