Talking Rubbish Blog

Depending on our location, residents can be offered a number of kerbside bin choices from our local council. Unless we live in a ‘one bin for everything’ collection area (such as the City of Stirling) we will be given a yellow top bin for recycling, which we all love to fill, a green top bin (of various sizes) and maybe a third bin for green/garden waste.

Are we lucky to have more volume?

For the diligent, attentive resident, bin choice presents no obstacle and we are happy to fill them all with the ‘correct’ material. However, for those of us who missed the promotion of the bin system, moved into an existing system or have a many person household, the multiple bin system may be daunting. But hey, it IS another bin, and it must be there for the filling.  Hopefully more specific bins will result in materials being collected in the correct location but is that what we need?

A third ‘greens’ bin provides a service for those who have continuous greens/garden waste over and above that serviced by the verge side greens pick-ups. If we have enough greens waste to warrant a third bin, we surely have enough room to have a composter in the garden, i.e. process this on site. If we are not able to do this and need someone to prune, mow or clean up the garden, they are then in a position to compost this material on site, which is then available for us to use at a later time. Hence reducing collection costs and giving us back our greens to reuse.

What if we don’t like composting or can’t get it to work and the verge collection too irregular? Where does the responsibility lie for our enthusiastic garden activity?

Should we really expect this high level of collection, from our local council; to remove material (which after all is a resource) to a location away for processing, for us to later purchase as conditioner for our hungry soils? Plus the garden grows at a faster rate now that we can prune more often because we can dispose of more easily in the third bin???!!

I suggest current services offered by local councils can be adequate and we as residents need more confidence and training to process our own smaller sized greens. Maybe we need a wake-up call to accept some responsibility for our garden ‘waste’ and learn how to use it ourselves as a garden resource.

What do you think?
20 Sep 2011 9:43 AM  /  Peg Davies  / bin, compost, council, garden, greens, recycling, resource, responsibility, waste  /  7 comments

cotton bags

hello everybody, i know all are well. This is a very nice blog all comment are good. Please share more..Thanks to all.


Great article. I can handle 3 bins, but any more than that and it gets too complicated. I'm a busy mum and don't have time to be worrying about sectioning everything off into 5+ bins. Regards Sally


You've got it in one. Couldn't have put it better.


Yes, absolutely agree with you Peg. 20 odd years ago, in Brunswick Melbourne, I remember council had a commercial mulcher driving out to people's verges and leaving the mulch there for reuse, people had to fork out 5 bucks to get that resource carted away. Also, referring to Lee's comment, even diseased plant material can be fixed for reuse, and this would ensure we are not spreading disease. If diseased plant material is bagged and solarised it kills off undesirable pathogens. A few select logs left lying around the yard is good habitat for natures helpers. It could harbour native bees, skinks, frogs, etc... and if large enough, it could be that desired bit of seating in the garden that everyone is racing to get to first.


Agree with the reuse of materials we generate on our own property. The ultimate irony is to prune the growth, discard and re-buy as mulch... how much extra time, energy and transport has gone into these extra steps.


If you are going to grow a lot of plants on your property you should be prepared to be responsible for the disposal or reuse of the cuttings. mulching it on site and reusing it makes more sense. The fertiliser you put on that plant is stored in the stems and leaves, to cut it and throw it away is wasting that food. Mulching it on site and returning it to the ground makes much more sense. The only time this wouldnt be a good idea is when there is disease.

chris H

Let’s take a different angle with the amount of bins a council supplies. Councils have always been very good at providing a waste collection (courier) service however not all councils have the ability to handle the different wastes at the end of the transport journey. All domestic waste and recycling material placed in the bin is customer supplied product and as consumption continues to grow so does the demand on councils to provide more collections. As we duck and dive to avoid the dreaded landfill site, waste facilities get more specialised and demand only certain types of wastes. Suppliers/transporters of waste beware ! There can be be financial penalties for suppling a type of waste that is not the desired waste for that facility. In our consumption driven society, residents supply an increasing amount of waste and facilities specialise in different wastes and the humble council wheelie bin is in the middle. A somewhat overlooked point when we talk about bins is the fact that just because you have 240 litres of available “waste space” in a rubbish bin doesn’t mean its all used. If this was the case there would probably be a 4 fold increase in tonnages collected from domestic bins. Blaming the councils for supplying bins is like blaming toilet manufacturers for the amount of sewage going through the pipes.

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