Hepburn Shire residents with kerbside rubbish collection service will pay $479 per year as a component of their rates from July 1. This represents an increase of $83 (21%) over last year.

The cost of waste disposal was about $500,000 higher than budgeted last year in part because of increase waste volume presumably associated with residents working from home.

“One of our biggest challenges this year is managing the costs of waste, which have risen significantly over the last year due to the change in kerbside collection contract rates and a 20% increase in the volume of waste produced,” said Mayor, Cr Lesley Hewitt. “We realise this is a substantial increase, but it is a necessary adjustment to meet the rising costs of waste management, the under-recovery of waste costs for 2020-2021, global recycling challenges and the compulsory State Government landfill levy,” said Cr Hewitt.

At this week’s meeting, Council approved a move to a new kerbside collection provider. SUEZ Recycling & Recovery was the successful tenderer for the service based on a public tender and selection criteria that included cost, service delivery, safety and sustainability. Council is working with the new service provider and residents can expect a smooth transition when the service commences from 1 July. “Our Environment and Waste team will be working closely with SUEZ on collection maps and data so that the transition can be as seamless as possible,” said Cr Hewitt.

SUEZ reportedly has unique technology, including cameras situated around the truck, that allows them to log bins that are not presented for collection and overweight bins. It can also audit contamination of recycling with cameras in the hopper of the truck. SUEZ will deliver the following services from 1 July 2021:

  • Residual waste and recycling kerbside collection
  • Public litter and recycling bin collection
  • Residual waste and recycling transport
  • Residual waste disposal
  • Special events bin collection, transport and disposal
  • Recycling processing

Recycling will be processed onsite by Cleanaway in Coolaroo (in western Melbourne) and landfill waste will continue to go to a Smythesdale landfill site (near Ballarat). Organics collected through the Clunes trial will also continue to be taken to Creswick Transfer Station to be composted on site.

Waste is an important item in the proposed Budget 2021-22 dealt with at the April Council meeting. “Creating an efficient and cost-effective waste management service is a priority for Council and we will develop a five-year waste strategy later this year.” The strategy will involve detailed community consultation, which will begin in the second half of 2021.