A GET-tough approach on householders who contaminate the waste going into their recycling bins has forced the confiscation of bins from more than 40 Border residents.
Under rules introduced last year, householders across Albury, Wodonga, Greater Hume, Indigo and Corowa are given three chances to stop spoiling their waste for recycling before their bin is removed by contractor Cleanaway.
Albury Council’s waste management team leader Andrea Baldwin said the first-of-its-kind four strikes program had seen the amount of contaminated recycling waste going into landfill fall from 18 per cent to 13 per cent.
“It’s a significant reason why it’s dropping,” Ms Baldwin said.
“It’s only because people didn’t know what to put in their bins.”
Ms Baldwin said Albury Council had taken the recycling bins from at least 20 residents and so far none had re-offended after their bins were returned.
In Wodonga, contamination fell from 15.6 per cent to 12.4 per cent, with 26 bins confiscated.
Councillor Anna Speedie also said this was proof of the program’s success.
“Our community will embrace the opportunity to improve their own practices,” she said.
Both councils are aiming to reduce the level of contamination in recycled waste to just 3 per cent.
Using cameras mounted on the back of their trucks, garbage collectors can see if non-recyclables have been put in the bins.
Those whose breach the rules get a sticker on their recycling bin.
Warning letters are sent to those who offend a second or third time, with information that explains what can and can’t go into the bins.
If there is a fourth offence, the bins are removed and not returned until the owner pledges to reform their behaviour.
Figures released yesterday show Wodonga residents recycle a whopping 87.5 per cent of their waste, while Albury’s rate is 46 per cent.
The councils yesterday announced another initiative aimed at increasing recycling rates.
Residents can now upgrade from a 240-litre recycling bin to 360 litres for an extra $20 per year.
Albury mayor Kevin Mack said it would help larger families who may be including up to 20 per cent of their recyclables in their general waste bin.
“We’re trying to reduce that figure, increase the figure in the recycling bin and get better outcomes for everyone,” he said.
They asked residents to keep plastic bags out of recycling and place items loosely in the bin.
To upgrade, phone (02) 6023 8111 (Albury) or (02) 6022 9300 (Wodonga).