Sorting our waste
Waste collection in Victoria is changing.
Changes to Bin Collection in Ballarat are coming
Ballarat is getting a new system for kerbside bin collection.
In line with the State Government’s Circular Economy (Waste Reduction and Recycling) Act 2021, the City of Ballarat will introduce a four-bin system to sort general waste, comingled recycling, glass, and food and garden organics (FOGO) separately.
The bins will be collected on the following schedule:
- FOGO collected weekly
- Household waste collected fortnightly
- Glass collected monthly
- Comingled recycling collection unchanged - fortnightly collection on alternate week to household waste
The FOGO and household waste collection changes will come into effect at a date to be determined. The exact timing will be dependent on a range of factors, including the City of Ballarat being able to engage a suitable FOGO processor in the region as well as procuring bins and caddies, and the development and implementation of a comprehensive community education campaign.
All households with a property size under 4000 square meters that receive kerbside waste and recycling services in the municipality will receive the new FOGO service and properties larger than 4000 square meters can opt into the FOGO service.
Larger households, particularly families with children in nappies, will have an option to add a second 140-litre household waste bin for an additional annual charge of about $120 to cater for the reduced collection frequency of household waste bins.
The new bin system will mean an increase in the waste levy for ratepayers of about $16 annually for general waste, recycling, and FOGO and an extra $10 annually for ratepayers for glass collection.
Kerbside glass collection will begin once the impacts of the State Government’s Container Deposit Scheme has been evaluated on the volume of glass waste in Ballarat. All households who currently receive a council kerbside collection will receive a kerbside glass service.
What we heard
The City of Ballarat held two rounds of community consultation over the past 12 months to find out what our residents wanted for their kerbside bin collection system. The options were first presented to the community in the Kerbside Options Paper.
In the first round of consultation, the community was asked how they felt about current waste and recycling services, what factors should be taken into consideration when designing the new services and what they would like to see with future services.
Results from the first Kerbside Transition Plan community survey in November 2022, showed 95% of respondents were passionate or supportive of recycling and the environment. 84% of respondents also said they would prefer a kerbside bin collection for glass.
In the second round of consultation, the Sorting Our Waste survey conducted between March and April 2023, we asked our community to have their say on the waste and recycling service options being considered by the City of Ballarat.
What did the community say?
Almost 5,750 Ballarat residents responded to the survey where three service options were presented for consideration by the community.
For FOGO and household waste collections, two of the three options were clearly preferred:
- Option 1 - Fortnightly FOGO, weekly household waste (45%)
- Ratepayers pay $30 a year. City of Ballarat pays $1,500,000 a year.
- Option 2 – Weekly FOGO, fortnightly household waste (40%)
- Ratepayers pay $16 a year. City of Ballarat pays $800,000 a year.
Although Option 1 received 5% more support in the community survey, the combination of a weekly household waste collection and fortnightly FOGO collection is not only more expensive but unlikely to encourage residents to keep food waste out of their household waste bin.
Why are these changes happening?
Why is the State Government introducing changes?
By 2030, all households in Victoria will use the same waste and recycling system, separating their waste and recycling into four streams – food organics and garden organics (FOGO), glass, mixed recycling, and household waste.
Under the Circular Economy (Waste Reduction and Recycling) Act 2021, all Victorian councils must introduce a separate glass recycling service by 2027, and a FOGO service by 2030, with some councils already making the change.
This change is designed to improve our recycling and reduce waste going to landfill.
A standard state-wide approach will ensure a simpler and consistent way to separate household waste and recycling and will also improve the quality of our recyclables, leading to more of our recyclables being recovered and transformed into something new.
How much does waste and recycling cost the City of Ballarat?
Waste disposal is expensive. Each day, the City of Ballarat spends $28,000 to dispose of waste.
More than 24,000 tonnes of waste were sent to landfill in the 2021-2022 financial year from 49,103 homes.
The City of Ballarat’s annual waste budget is around $25 million to cover the cost of household waste, recyclables and green waste bin collection as well as managing the Transfer Station, Ballarat Regional Landfill, and Pass on Glass.
Construction of the new cell (where we dispose of waste) at the Ballarat Regional Landfill cost $4 million and, based on the current rate of disposal, is expected to be full by the end of 2025. This landfill is expected to reach capacity by 2040. We will then need to consider other options, which could include trucking waste to other landfills or source alternative options.
Why is Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) collection important?
Food waste makes up 42 per cent of our household waste, which adds up to an estimated 10,000 tonnes of food that is thrown out by City of Ballarat residents every year.
It is expensive to send this large volume of food waste to landfill. Landfill charges, set by the State Government, have increased substantially in recent years and are expected to continue to increase in the future. Diverting food waste from landfill will help to reduce landfill costs for City of Ballarat residents.
Burying food waste in landfill is not good for the environment. Diverting food waste from the household waste bin will reduce the volume of methane, a powerful gas that contributes to climate change, that is generated when organic waste breaks down in landfill.
The State Government has prioritised tackling food waste with a policy requiring councils across Victoria to provide a FOGO service to all households.
Collecting FOGO, including fruit and vegetable scraps, meat, bones, seafood and eggshells, through our kerbside collections and keeping it out of landfill is one of the most simple and effective things we can do for the environment.
Food and green waste can be transformed into compost – which means it is being recycled into something new that can be used.
Why is glass recycling important?
The City of Ballarat moved to separate glass from mixed recycling in 2019, introducing a Pass on Glass system.
Due to the collapse of SKM Recycling, the City of Ballarat had to find an alternative option to ensure our recycling wouldn’t end up in landfill.
Under this system, residents stopped adding glass to their yellow-lid recycling bins, instead taking their glass to drop-off sites. Separating glass from other recycling improves the quality of these materials because broken glass becomes stuck in these items, reducing their ability to be recycled.
The system to separate glass has received a high up-take from our community – with 3,860 tonnes of glass jars and bottles recycled by local companies since its inception.
On average, glass now makes up just three per cent of household waste going to landfill.
Glass collected from the Pass on Glass sites is sent to Visy in Melbourne where it is recycled into new glass bottles.
In 2020, the State Government announced a policy to introduce a new glass service for all Victorian households.
The State Government will introduce a Container Deposit Scheme across Victoria in 2023. The scheme will provide a 10c return on eligible drink containers - cans, cartons and bottles - at collection points. It aims to reduce litter and increase recycling. It is expected that the scheme will receive at least 20 per cent of household glass volumes.
Won’t my household waste (red lid) bin smell if it’s collected fortnightly?
Unfortunately, most bins smell, but experience from other councils show that there is no difference in the smell of waste bins after a fortnight when waste, including nappies and other sanitary waste, was bagged or wrapped. That is, the odour of the waste bin after two weeks was rated the same as after one week.
- Keeping your bins in a shaded area rather than in the sun helps to reduce odour.
- Put solids from nappies into the toilet before wrapping and placing in bin
- Consider changing to cloth nappies, if even for part of the time
- Sprinkle bicarb soda into your bin to help neutralise odours
What can go in the FOGO bin?
FOGO stands for Food Organics Garden Organics.
Food organics – meat, fish, bones, egg shells, dairy products, fruit and vegetable scraps including citrus and out of date mouldy food
Garden organics – grass clippings, plants, weeds, flowers, leaves and sticks.
The exact contents that will be accepted in a FOGO bin will be determined by the company that will be contracted to process the waste.
I don’t need a FOGO bin as I already compost my own organic waste, can I opt out?
No, but you will be able to put food waste in your FOGO bin that can’t go in home compost such as meat, bones, dairy and citrus.
The service will be mandatory for all properties under 4000 square meters that currently receive a council waste collection service. Incoming State Government regulations will stipulate the standard of service we are required to provide, and it is unclear if we will be able to offer residents an opt out option. The Service Standards are expected to be released in early 2024.
Can I put animal waste in the FOGO bin?
The exact contents that will be accepted in a FOGO bin will be determined by the company that is contracted to process the waste.
Can I opt out of the four-bin system?
The State Government regulations stipulate the standards we are required to follow. Currently the draft standards do not offer the option to opt out of the service. Until the State Government release the final standards, it is unclear if the City of Ballarat will be able to offer this going forward. We expect the standards to be released early 2024.
I don’t have space for four bins. What are my options?
Properties under 250 square meters will receive a smaller 140L FOGO bin and will have the option to request a 240L bin instead. There will be no price difference between the different size bins.
The State Government regulations stipulate that councils are required to provide the four waste and recycling streams. It is unclear as to whether we will be able to offer residents a opt out option. The Service Standards are expected to be released in early 2024.
A fortnightly household waste collection isn’t enough for my household, what can I do?
We understand that some households may be concerned that a fortnightly household waste collection won’t meet their needs. Recent audits show 42 per cent of Ballarat’s household waste bin is food, diverting this food waste to the FOGO bin. The City of Ballarat will continue to look for solutions to reduce waste and increase recycling of materials that currently are not accepted in the mixed recycling bin, such as soft plastics and tetra paks.
Households will have the option to add an additional 140-litre red lid bin to their service for an additional annual fee of approximately $120. Households that request to receive this additional service will be assessed on a case-by-case basis, undergo a bin inspection and must meet one or more of the following criteria:
- Have children in nappies.
- Household of 6 or more occupants.
- Have medical reasons (e.g., use of continence aids).
My household waste bin is full on a weekly basis. What can I do to reduce my household waste?
- Reduce the amount of packing you bring into your home e.g. buy unpackaged fruit and vegetables, take reusable grocery bags and produce bags to the supermarket
- Avoid take away containers by taking your own reusable coffee cup or container. Or dining in, instead of taking out.
- Food waste takes up approximately 42% of our household waste bin. With a new FOGO service, soon we will be able to add our food organics into the garden organics bin
- Make sure all items that can be recycled are going in your recycle bin. Check what can or cannot go in your recycle bin by visiting Recycling in Ballarat | City of Ballarat
- Try a change to reusable nappies and sanitary items and apply for the rebate offered through City of Ballarat. Find out more info here Reusable nappy, period and sanitary products rebate | City of Ballarat
Could this change result in an increase in illegal rubbish dumping?
The City of Ballarat condemns environmental vandals and discourages rubbish dumping in all forms.
When community members report illegal rubbish dumping on City of Ballarat-owned land, City of Ballarat compliance officers will inspect, remove the rubbish and collect evidence for litter investigation purposes.
Dumped rubbish can be reported by contacting City of Ballarat via the Snap, Send, Solve app, by phoning 5320 5550 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Will the City of Ballarat provide a hard waste collection service?
The City of Ballarat does not currently provide a kerbside hard waste collection service. Two vouchers for the Transfer Station are provided to each household every year along with the waste collection calendar, to help households manage waste that does not go in kerbside bins. The City of Ballarat is currently reviewing feedback that was received as part of a recent community engagement on resource recovery and waste management.
The feedback will be presented to Councillors in December for guidance on next steps.
Will the City of Ballarat provide any additional tip vouchers?
At this point in time, there is no recommendation to implement additional tip vouchers.
Will there be any subsidies and concessions available?
Financial Hardship Policy
Ratepayers who meet the criteria under this policy can apply for a range of assistance options that suit their individual needs.
Applications for assistance under City of Ballarat's Financial Hardship Policy should be made on the prescribed form. Ratepayers will need to provide evidence to support their claim for financial hardship.
Enquiries about this policy can be made by contacting the City of Ballarat Customer Service team on 5320 5500.
If you are eligible and hold a current pension card you may be able to claim a rebate on your rates. This amount is adjusted annually in line with the Consumer Price Index (CPI). A further concession can be claimed from the Fire Services Property Levy.
Please note, if you’re a Health Care Card holder, you are not entitled to a rebate or concession for Council rates or the FSPL.
I don’t need a glass bin as I don’t have much glass waste, can I opt out?
Incoming State Government regulations will stipulate the standard of service we are required to provide residents. Information provided by the State Government to date indicates that we will not be able to offer a opt out option. We expect the Service Standards to be released early 2024.
Contact the City of Ballarat Circular Economy team by emailing email@example.com with any questions or queries about the changes to kerbside waste collection.