Setting bar for organic waste

By Yarrawonga Chronicle

Over the past four years, four regional towns in northern Victoria have achieved organic waste results that are the envy of many regional and metropolitan councils. 

“From day one our residents have kept contamination rates below 0.5% - that’s better than half the industry best practice goal of 1%. We think it’s an achievement our communities can be really proud of and is well and truly worth celebrating,” said Moira Shire Mayor Libro Mustica. 

Moira Shire Council introduced the organic waste service to the towns of Cobram, Nathalia, Numurkah and Yarrawonga just prior to Christmas four years ago and realised very early that the success of the service relied on the community. 

“We can provide the bins, caddies, bags, trucks and all the communications and education programs in the world but we can’t control what happens inside our residents’ homes,” Mayor Mustica said. 

“We are absolutely thrilled with how our communities in Cobram, Nathalia, Numurkah and Yarrawonga have responded and the results are phenomenal.

“If the contamination rate is too high the organic waste can’t be processed into mulch which pretty much defeats the purpose of the service and creates additional fees that come back to rate payers.” 

Mayor Mustica said while he can’t pinpoint why the service had been so successful, “I think we can put it down to a really great local community.” 

“We put a lot of effort into designing and rolling out the new service – but so have many other councils and they haven’t seen the same results,” Mayor Mustica said. 

“We are a big part of Victoria’s food bowl and I think that common sense understanding of the environment and its importance to our local food production and economy has helped. 

“Waste management accounts for around 10% of Moira Shire’s annual expenditure. 

“Finding ways to reduce costs for rate payers and protect our local environment and with it local food production makes sense - the organic waste service is one way we making this happen.”

With several councils finding it a challenge to achieve 3-4% contamination rates Mayor Mustica said there was a further bonus. 

“It feels pretty good to explain that our decimal place isn’t in the wrong spot – it’s just that our local communities are achieving results that are almost ten times better than theirs – it’s a healthy little competition to have,” said Mayor Mustica. 

Total volume of waste collected by Moira’s kerbside collection services (2014-2018):

Kerbside waste services Kerbside waste diverted Organic waste

2014 - 2018 from landfill (tonnes) contamination

(Best practice <1%) 

  • Cobram 2889.49 t 0.37% 
  • Nathalia 838.52 t 0.34% 
  • Numurkah 2262.57 t 0.39% 
  • Yarrawonga 4073.59 t 0.42% 

Total 10,064.17 t 0.38%