CHOICE membership

Waste Collection - pay by the kilogram



Like most households we put our big green 240l wheelie bin out every week. It usually only contains one or two small plastic bags of rubbish of a few kilos each.

As we drive past other bins unable to close fully, the lids cocked up it is appears a little unfair. Why can’t frugal or conscious householders be rewarded with lower cost waste services?

Our recycling bin would also take more than a month to fill.

The trucks can or have scales and know how much each bin weighs. It cannot be that hard to use technology to track truck, house location and bin weight.

Even just offering a smaller bin and lower cost service or less frequent pickup would not be that difficult. Red stripe on a bin lid is a once a fortnight or monthly service. And should halve the general rate component.

Why reward a full bin with a cheap service?

Makes me want to vote LNP and privatise totally waste collection - User Pays?


That an interesting idea @mark_m. The more we can meaningfully incentivise uneccessary waste, the better.


A couple of things that come to mind:

  • it’s not uncommon for people to utilise the spare space in other peoples bins
  • it would be a ‘bad thing’ if charging by the kg for waste increased the incidence of illegal dumping
  • weight is not necessarily a good way to measure the damage likely from waste - plastic is much lighter than concrete for example …

It’s an interesting thought. Perhaps the saving could be passed back some other way - a rebate next year on rates or free access to some service the council normally charges for, like the town pool … ie to limit the chance of people doing the wrong thing.


Do you think the LNP (or any council) would get a private company in and also reduce rates accordingly? Be careful what you wish for, you might get it. You could ‘pays your council and you pays your collection company’.


All good points but misses one: who pays to weigh the mess and how much?


That’s the first thing that came to my mind.

Our nearest landfill is a 60km round trip and $30 for a 6x4 trailer or ute. A neighbouring shire issues free passes with the rates receipt. I’d suggest this may be why we appear to have a much larger illegal dumping problem than them.

It makes my blood boil to see the result of some Muppet’s overnight activities on the side of the road.


We need to get away from the concept of “waste”. Everything has a potential use. Our problem is that we haven’t figured out how to use everything.

Some people will always litter. Charging for collection just motivates more of it. Perhaps Councils should be banned from charging. That might give them an incentive to be more innovative with how they manage “waste”.


I’d be happy to see the alternatives others might offer to incentivise responsible consumers.

The option of offering householders if they choose a half price service with pickups half as often is not likely to add cost or encourage dumping.

Councils charging full rate to collect a bin that is 80% empty resembles a rort and it is gouging the customer to ask them to pay for more than they use is it not?

P.s. politically I vote according to the wind direction on the day. Seeing the same overfull bins week in week out challenges values. The self driving Google bin service will sort out geotagging households, RFID bin tags, weighing your waste, and updating street view all at the same time. It may take a little longer for the Google waste cam to advise you may be out of tooth paste and that they have a special deal on your favourite brand?


Would that be unlike how we pay utilities? The pesky connection/service fees can outweigh the use fees making ‘conservation’ less than rewarding for the effort made. The councils would predictably have a base collection fee plus the per kg fee, and guessing at how it would balance should not be hard. Would it be an improvement or just another feel good policy with council’s opportunity to increase their income?


Apologies, it was a rather wicked thought.
Although we have already seen in Queensland the water and sewage supply taken off councils, authorities amalgamated, reshuffled and turned into quasi state owned private enterprise. The horse has long bolted on what can happen.

Noted it remains a flawed system as sewage charges are based on the number of pedestals installed irrespective of the size or occupancy of a property. The Unity Water in SE Qld charges are higher for a two bedroom town house with two loos than a four bedroom with one. Fortunately water consumption is on a meter and not on the number of taps you have?


I should not agree, however it is a stark reminder of reality.

Councils in our area may be just a training or dumping ground for future state and federal candidates?

edit note added:
Back in the old days on the farm there was a 100% off grid solution. It suggests a very different solution here?


Here is Yarra Valley Water’s pricing manual. Sewerage is a percent of water used with an explanation of why they selected that formula. Pragmatic and reasonable as exposed by the details?


The trucks will still come around just as often, even if they don’t necessarily pick up from every premises every time. No cost saving at all.

Does it cost less to pick up a bin with less in it?

Turning the issue around. There’s value in what we throw out. Should Councils be charging or paying? Come to think of it, if we were paid for our garbage, would there be any dumping? Would anything that was dumped be quickly picked up and handed in for payment?


In the US there was a time when drink cans were recyclable in machines You fed in your cans and out would come cash. There were still lots of cans thrown along the roads and walks, but kids, homeless, and poor people would gather them up and get a few $ for their effort. It worked. I am not sure if those programs and machines are still running, and if not why not, excepting most people, especially Americans, cannot be bothered to get small change regardless of how little work is involved.

So to answer your question, if a program was intelligently scoped and properly executed, yes. But what are the odds one of our governments could be relied on to do either, let alone both.


Many years ago when soft drink bottles had a deposit on them (in NSW at least) urchins would patrol beaches and other popular public areas on weekends and collect them up. With some effort and teamwork all the members of the group got an ice cream and a pocket full of lollies for a couple of hours work. It worked.


Drifting OT a little, but that is absolutely what councils are for many a budding politician, and yes I’d agree there are a lot of politician dropouts (if you consider failing to be a politician a failure) who retire in council office …


Waste is collected by private companies - almost none are Council owned. Councils call tenders for waste collection and often the private contractors have the Council logo on the truck. Councils are even outsourcing landfill operations, so the LNP model is already with us I’m afraid. Why do you think the rates are so high?


Today that is, where done, generally a contract for collection and disposal under council supervision or management.

@mark_m comments was to ‘privatise totally waste collection - User Pays’ – not the same. That takes it out of councils hands and completely into the private sector in the extreme case.


Your arguing semantics. I worked for Councils and I can guarantee that the private operator is in complete control. They supply the bins, determine the pickup routes, charges for waste collection and disposal - not Council. They also handle complaints, questions and often handshake with the regional authorities who manage the landfill or collection stations on behalf of Council. Council is now a price taker, because the private operators ( four oligopolies) control the waste streams throughout Australia.
This is complete capture of public service with Council as a client and the waste generators as the cash cows. Sounds and looks like a user pays privatised service to me.


I was differentiating two business models and accepted it was not a universal truth.

Your description is educational. My council contracts the service but my relationship is with council not directly with the contractor; however the contractor does handle complaints like failure to collect and damaged bin replacements where it would make little sense for anyone to pass a paper across an extra desk. A few years ago a collection truck damaged my landscaping and I went to council who had responsibility and promptly handled it, I was not pawned off to the contractor.

Without arguing semantics your point is made however the original to and fro was, as I understood it, taking council totally out of the equation so each property owner had to make their own arrangements directly with a private company, not through council or rates bills.