My council tried this. It was interesting hearing them trying to justify handing my personal contact details to their contractor, so they could call me and be rude - this after I lodged a formal complaint with council.
I believe now that both parties understand their position in the scheme of things, and particularly that council understands that while they can outsource almost anything, they can’t outsource their responsibility for providing a service they are directly charging me for. At least they did at the time …
The legalities are quite interesting and vary from State to State as each are governed by their relevant State legislations. The management of refuse is determined under the health legislation of State Governments and that responsibility in turn has been regulated to be conducted by Local Government. Local Government is a creature of State Governments and derive their powers with enabling legislation to undertake certain obligations which are ultimately the responsibility of the State Government.
The question as to whether Local Governments are legally permitted to subcontract out their responsibilities is yet to be tested. Services of Council are provided via the rates and charges they impose on their communities. Many Councils have split refuse from their rates as separate user pays charges which has a differing legal construct compared to Councils undertaking delivery of these services paid for within their rate structures.
At present, where Councils have split of their refuse obligations they allegedly maintain control by reference to the contracts provided by private contractors. However, they cannot delegate the power to manage the health responsibilities which they derive from State Government. As time passes, these legislated control parameters are blurred to the point where I believe Councils have actually lost effective control of their legislated obligations in relation to waste. It will take a crisis of some kind for this to be brought to a head and tested in the Courts. I suspect this will come about sooner rather than later as the private operators are pushing back on their inability to dispose of recycled waste now that China has shut up shop. A breakdown of managing this waste stream will see inordinate claims by the private operators for Councils to rescue them from what is no longer a paying proposition. We are already witnessing the debate about whether or not ratepayers will be footing the bill to manage recycled waste in this new paradigm. My view is that ratepayers will revolt in one way or another and Councils will feel the sharp edge of democracy as their elected members get rolled. Rates and charges are at their maximum across Australia as State Governments seek to shift more of their responsibilities onto Local Government - in effect the population are paying twice for services. In the current economic climate this is unsustainable, so watch this space as the onion peels itself and the sham of Local Government outsourcing is laid bare. Sorry to be political, but it’s the only way to explain the dynamics that will bring this issue into focus.
On the topic of searching for a practical solution such that those of us who put that bit extra into minimising our waste are not also supporting the poor practices of others. Without some form of tangible recognition we are less likely to see others follow.
Part of the debate around renewable energy has been it’s cheaper therefore people will do it.
Waste is no different. If there is a cost saving or benefit to those that change other consumers will follow.
You don’t necessarily need to charge those with more waste a higher cost, although if enough low waste customers come to the fore it will push higher costs through to the smaller customer base. That seems to be the same logic that has pushed brown coal fired electricity generation out the door.
I’m not sure that fixing this is that complicated. If a doubtful comedian from the ABC can lower the cost of a coffee nationally for those of us who have our own cup by 50c, just how much is a 240l wheelie bin going to save?
With not that much general waste each week if there was a waste receiveal bin at the local IGA car park I could drop the 20l of waste in each week and push 50c in the slot, drop the recylcing off on the way past at the depot for free and not bother at all with a wheelie bins. There are others here in the same situation.
South Australia never stopped having a container deposit scheme.
Northern Territory has a container deposit scheme
NSW has recently re-introduced a container deposit scheme.
And on 1 November 2018 Queensland’s second container deposit scheme begins.
It wasn’t just children who collected and handed in drink bottles in the seventies; and it isn’t just children who in the 21st century collect and return glass bottles, metal cans, plastic bottles, and beverage tetra packs to claim the deposit monies.
Anticipating our big yellow topped recycle bin not having much in it (can’t put soft plastics in it - so we take them to a nearby RedCycle bin at the shopping centre).
Of course it would be better if council-managed waste services involved multiple types of recycle bins - so that we could sort accordingly.
Now that NSW has the container deposit scheme, we have noticed that there are ‘urchins’ going through recycling bins on our street on bin night. They already know not to bother with our bin. We separate out the 10c containers, but evidently quite a few of our neighbours don’t.
So long as the urchins don’t make a mess or noise, I’m happy to see them cleaning up
In network engineering, there’s an old adage: It’s easier to move a problem than to solve it
Fixing this might not be that complicated, but will your fix cause worse problems?
If it’s going to cost, either in money or in inconvenience (getting organised, going to the bin in the car park) some will inevitably choose cheaper/easier options. Dumping has already been mentioned. Chucking garbage in any convenient roadside bin is a less messy alternative.
Why is garbage such a problem? In days gone by, we threw out far less. What was thrown out had recognised value, to the point that people made a living, collecting rubbish and taking it to where it could be used.
These days, we throw out far more, which we value less.
Those, I think, are the roots of our problem. Volume and value.
Much of what we throw out is packaging. It exists for commercial convenience. It isn’t valued because those who benefit from it don’t pay its costs. This is Capitalism at work: privatise profits; socialise costs
How to impose those costs back on the ones who benefit? Every retailer who sells anything in any form of packaging must be made responsible for collecting and recycling that packaging. To motivate compliance, each retailer should be periodically audited. If any audit shows a shortfall between packaging sold and packaging recycled, then impose a penalty of (say) 1,000 times estimated environmental costs.
With the quoted snippet out of context he would be a highly sought after right wing financial advisor working for certain billionaires, their politicians in their pockets, and their mega-companies.
In context it is probably worse than you wrote as the US has evolved into a dysfunctional society owned and operated by the most successful, usually right wing mentalities, who rarely have any sense of noblesse oblige.
Only if you live in an apartment block with communal bins. And in which instance it should cost you less because they are fewer and often the larger sized bins and are collected like industrial waste. Are you paying too much already?
Our Council contracted the waste collection out years ago. All runs well. I have visited the site where the co-mingled recycled bins (fortnightly collection) are sorted. Where the glass, plastic etc. goes I do not know. I assume that the paper items go to the paper mill nearby. We also have a green bin collected alternate fortnightly. That is turned into potting mix etc. by another contractor.
Not sure about other Shires but our bins carry a unique barcode which gets scanned as the bin gets raised and emptied. We have three, hard waste, (120L) recyclable, (240L) and organic. (240L) We also rent, which means we don’t pay the rubbish collection rates.
We don’t put out the hard waste or recycle bins on their alternating fortnights unless they’re full. That saves the respective trucks a stop / start cycle. Unfortunately, we’re supposed to put all kitchen and garden scraps into the organic bin and that means you really have to put that one out weekly even if it only has two tiny compostable bags of kitchen scraps in it as otherwise it attracts pests, and besides it smells bad after a few days.
So maybe only getting charged per pickup would work for the hard and recycle waste bins, but it would encourage people to keep positively fetid organics bins, because even with lawn clipping etc, I reckon our organic bin would take up to eight weeks to fill.
However, our Shire also sells us the compostable plastic bags that are the only kind allowed in the organic bin, and they turn a profit by turning all organic waste into compost and selling that to commercial producers.
So perhaps the right thing to do would be for the Shire to bear the cost of the organic bin collections and pay for it with their profits from the compost, and to only charge on the other two bins if they’re put out that fortnight.
Way I see it is that in our case the Shire doesn’t pick up our recycle bins in two our of every three fortnights, and our hard waste bins (which are 120L already) only once in every two fortnights. A good incentive would be for the Shire to pass some of those savings back to us when they only have to stop at a house once a month rather than every week. But that’s not going to happen is it…
I have a very small, under bench, bin which I line with a sheet from the local newspaper and after even 2 weeks it isn’t full; I do put green waste in my rubbish bin but that doesn’t amount to much either. I agree that it should be a ‘user pays’ situation but then again my recycling bin is usually about half full and that is emptied fortnightly…
Because you don’t use much waste has nothing to do with everyone else! What about large families - they should pay more because it weighs more?!?
We all pay for rubbish bin pick-up in our rates now and its one of the few essential services that councils provide that cleanly does deal with waste from householders.
I hate to think what would happen with rubbish being dumped - stuff going into other peoples bins - bags being dumped in the bush and along roadsides etc. Public tips would be abandoned where charges are made for dumping etc,more rubbish dumped somewhere else.
Wake up Mark - or perhaps go back to sleep - thank goodness we have the service as it is!
@colin1, as the topic developed you might have noticed it is fundamentally about ways to encourage ‘us’ to reduce waste, and most of us produce lots of it.
You made valid observations about human nature. A valid question is whether people who disrespect using bins now would incrementally change their behaviour for the worse under a user pays, or if more would disrespect using bins if it was a user pays model. You have cited ample evidence about how some people already act under the current service model, but would a change be status quo, worse, or an overall improvement? It could go any of the ways.
As for your concern about large families, they do generate more waste and a segment of the community wonders why others should subsidise their chosen family sizes (but they don’t push it), if that makes a point. Large families use more resources overall if measured per residence, and regardless it is common they pay more for most things to sustain their lives when measured by the family unit. If measured per person, why not adjust the billing algorithms to per person in each residence and be up front and fair about that? Taking the point further, is charging by weight any more wrong than charging those with a $2 million home more than those in a $500,000 home for the same council services, which is how rates are set?
Back to waste, if there is neither a reward for economising on waste nor a penalty for generating excess waste do you have a proposal to encourage ‘us’ to reduce our waste or are you in the camp that does not consider it a worry?
I’m awake - every time I walk down our road and along the back fence to find another mattress or car tyre with rim or fridge lying by the road side. Some are recently deposited and some are revealed by the forestry contractors who just leave it there. The freshly slasher minced fridge is little to do with the cost of the local waste collection service. When I can it goes in the trailer and is part of the $15 tip fee, I hope.
Sometimes if I walk towards the local town centre. It’s typically the same bins overflowing, usually from the properties with granny flats but only paying for one lot of residents. You can order an extra bin, and you pay more for it. That would seem fairer. Others run a business and use the household service to avoid paying for a commercial service.
It would be so easy to close my eyes but it will still be there the next day.
It’s not a call for others to pay more, just for those that see more and try harder to make a difference to pay less.
Recently the local council here decided to stop charging for domestic mattress at the tip, quantity limited for the obvious reasons.
The original thought was to consider how to reward or encourage less waste at the household wheelie bin. Arguably by a focus on cost, that less waste is less cost. eg per kg in the bin. It’s also one way to improve awareness.
No different to a tax on carbon perhaps, except that we all now pay for waste so it is not new. Or solar power is cheaper to buy than power from coal.
The suggestion by some subsequently is that waste will turn into more litter if there is a cost on waste that is proportional to how much we each create.
My observations on litter were secondary. It happens more for convenience in our area because people can.