MELVILLE council is considering spending up to $850,000 to trial a three-bin system in parts of Bicton, Willagee, Mt Pleasant, Brentwood and Bull Creek later this year.
The trial was originally proposed by the South Metropolitan Regional Council last year and will separate waste into three streams, with a food and garden organics bin joining the existing recyclables and inert waste bins.
The contents of the food and garden organics bin will be transported to the Canning Vale-based Regional Resource Recovery Centre (RRRC) and processed into high-quality compost.
If approved, the trial will likely run from September until the end of the 2017-18 financial year.
Its results will determine the future of the RRRC’s once cutting-edge drum-based composting facility, which the SMRC is considering mothballing in the face of lower than projected increases to landfill gate fees and the emergence of new energy from waste technologies.
The trial will require the City of Melville to purchase close to 7000 new red-topped bins for inert waste.
The purchase of 7000 new lime green-topped bins, for food and garden organics, is also recommended and will bring the total trial price tag to just under $850,000 – which includes the cost of providing affected homes with kitchen caddies and compostable liners.
Alternatively, the City could save $170,000 by purchasing just the red-lidded bins and replacing the dark green lids on existing 240l bins with lime green ones.
However, City officers have recommended against this option based on the experience of other local governments that encountered issues with residents not recognising the new bin-lid as meaning a different use for the bin.
To minimise the impact on rates, City officers have proposed funding the trial from the Refuse Facilities Reserve and the Refuse Bin Reserve, which currently contain $9 million and $1.8 million respectively.
The City has also submitted a grant funding application to the Waste Authority that could see just over $210,000 returned to the City once the trial is underway.
During the trial, the food and garden organics bin will be collected weekly with the inert waste and recyclables bins emptied fortnightly on alternating weeks.
Recommending the trial be approved, City officers wrote that the introduction of a three-bin system would result in a cleaner waste stream and better quality compost.
“(It) will also facilitate the progression toward waste to energy, with ultimately the red-lidded bin going directly to a future waste to energy facility and again reducing costs and increasing diversion rates from landfill,” they wrote.
Melville councillors will vote on undertaking the trial on Tuesday, April 18.