Selective organic waste management

Organic waste is a pressing issue from two key perspectives. First, we have a physical waste problem, with many populations facing issues of a growing landfill footprint (Nakamura, S. & Kondo, Y. 2002) as both population and consumption increase. Second, there is a pollution problem – for organic waste, this is primarily an issue of greenhouse gas emissions, namely methane, being released as organic matter decomposes – even when technical solutions are deployed to prevent or minimise this byproduct (Chanton, J. et al 2011).

One of the landfill sites in my local council area, Blaxland Waste Management Facility, has been a concern for residents in terms of filling beyond capacity and management of odour pollution (Madigan, D. 2012). Although extensions in the past few years are projected to allow continued use of the landfill site for 15-20 years, Blue Mountains City Council has identified that a reduction in waste generated for landfill should occur in order for it to last significantly longer (Blue Mountains City Council 2015).

New South Wales

In NSW more generally, local government is responsible for collection and management of waste. According to the NSW Environmental Protection Authority’s most recently available survey of waste management, most councils collect garden organics separately (NSW EPA 2014) with all other forms of organic waste diverted to landfill if it is not dealt with through individual solutions such as composting, worm farms or animal feed. Only 17 councils in NSW collect food organic waste as well as garden waste. This is one of the aspects I want to address particularly, as in my proposal for my local government area, I believe there has been a missed opportunity recently transitioning to a system of collecting only garden-based organic waste.

Kerbside organics collection services in NSW, by 2016 (NSW EPA, 2016)
Kerbside organics collection services in NSW, by 2016 (NSW EPA, 2016)

Author: Erland Howden

Designer, photographer & facilitator. Vego foodie. Passionate about environmental justice, community organising & travel.

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