Recycling goes solar

By Marco Holden Jeffrey

The City of Melbourne has proposed a $24.7 million investment in waste management infrastructure across the city, including two new waste recovery hubs and 51 solar-powered recycling bins.

City of Melbourne environment portfolio chair Cr Cathy Oke said the project demonstrated the council’s commitment to reducing litter and encouraging reuse in a city that generated more than 40,000 tonnes in kerbside waste annually.

“Both these initiatives will support our move towards a circular economy where we maximise reuse, recycling and recovery, and minimise waste to landfill,” she said.

The new solar compactor recycling bins would complement the city’s 396 solar compactor rubbish bins installed in 2018.

The solar rubbish bins weren’t without teething issues – CBD News reported in April 2019 that council had been forced to relocate some of them after repeated power failures due to a lack of direct sunlight.

A council spokesperson said the recycling bins would be placed next to the solar rubbish bins, which were “all operating and positioned to receive adequate sunlight”.

Cr Oke said the new recycling bins would also be instrumental in cutting the number of rubbish truck collections, reducing noise and pollution city-wide.

“Solar powered compactor bins have already helped us cut the number of rubbish truck collections down from 90,000 a month, to just 12,000 a month,” Cr Oke said.

“Like the solar rubbish bins, solar recycling bins will use gentle compaction to increase capacity to about six times that of a regular recycling bin, which means they don’t need to be emptied as often.”

The waste recovery hubs were expected to process up to 85 tonnes of waste a month, on top of recyclable materials that would be diverted from landfill. 

Nearby businesses would pay a fee based on how frequently they disposed of their landfill waste at the hubs.

Cr Oke said the council was working towards “finalising the best location for the new hubs” and expected to install them in 2021.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the centres would remove up to 110 commercial bins in the city’s laneways and reduce waste collection truck trips by up to 7000.

“Bins in laneways look ugly, take up valuable space, cause odour and can attract insects and vermin,” she said.

“By delivering on our commitment to establish more resource recovery hubs we are working to reduce noise, smell and mess in our city.” •

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