DUMP VOUCHERS FOR RENTERS AND GREEN BINS FOR EVERYONE 

 

VISION

 

We want a Brisbane where everyone has the opportunity to easily and cheaply reduce their waste and live sustainably. Residents want to play their part, but the major drivers of waste generation are outside of the control of everyday people. 

 

Our food is produced with more and more packaging and the low quality of affordable furniture and household goods means shorter lifespans and more items needing to be disposed of. More of us are living in apartments and rental accommodation, which makes it harder to compost. What’s more, Council gives renters less rights than landowners to remove waste, despite an increasingly volatile housing market forcing so many of us out of home ownership. 

 

Ultimately, a lot of the changes we can make at a local level rely on the services and facilities provided by Council. The Greens would make simple, concrete changes to help all residents reduce their waste: 

 

THE PROBLEM


So many elements of life in Brisbane are impacted by local government decisions and these are so often made in the interest of profit, not the people. This is not working. As our city grows we produce more and more waste and Brisbane is running out of storage for landfill. Authorities are actively scouting for new sites. Every year the waste we produce is growing at twice the rate of the population. 

Reducing packaging and improving recycling are essential strategies to handle much of our waste, but a large proportion consists of “green waste” — organic material such as food scraps and other biodegradable materials like grass clippings. 

Greenwaste - the current situation:

Brisbane City Council provides green waste bins to give residents an opportunity to be storm and fire ready by easily disposing of plant waste. However there are significant inequities: 

  1. Tenants cannot directly apply for green waste bins.

  2. These bins come at a cost of $86.04 per bin per year.

In Brisbane, 40% of waste in our general bins is compostable, yet ends up in landfill. This presents a serious environmental problem as compostable materials that end up in landfill cannot break down properly. Buried under tonnes of other waste, organic waste is deprived of the oxygen and moisture balance which aids healthy breakdown. The result is the production of excess, harmful gasses and mountains of waste which piles up and never shrinks down. By redirecting this waste into a green waste bin, it can be composted into reusable soil, reducing carbon emissions and returning the resource of fertile, usable compost. By cutting down on landfill, we will also take pressure off existing sites which are already struggling to keep up with demand.

General waste dump vouchers - the current situation:

  1. Landlords are given dump vouchers.

  2. Tenants have no right to ask landlords for vouchers.

Brisbane City Council provides general waste vouchers which allow residents to clear large items, like appliances, furniture and excessive green waste (ie: large branches and stumps) - but they’re only given to landowners. Brisbane residents often move house, sometimes annually (or even after a few months) because finding affordable, stable accommodation is so difficult in a system which treats housing as a profit maker, rather than a right. There are so many issues with removals and even the quality of furniture that people can afford and the end result is that renters often need to dispose of large items. Brisbane residents are familiar with BCC funded campaigns that tell us to prepare for storms and fires by clearing branches, debris and large general waste; but renters do not have access to annual waste vouchers. Renters are encouraged to tidy up through paid advertising but are not supported by real action from Council. 

OUR SOLUTION

 

Our community does not have control over the market, where corporations produce and package items in an unsustainable manner. We are living in a throwaway society where the average person cannot afford high quality, long lasting goods. What’s more, Brisbane City Council gives renters less rights than landowners to remove waste, despite an increasingly volatile housing market forcing so many of us out of home ownership. 

 

The Greens would make waste management in Brisbane fairer with simple, concrete changes to help all residents reduce and manage their waste:

 

  1. Allocate dump vouchers to residents, not landlords. After all, it is usually left to renters to maintain the property, and being able to remove rubbish fairly and easily will benefit everyone. 

  2. Give everyone in Brisbane access to a green waste bin for free. The current green waste bin services provided by BCC are only available to those who can afford to pay and are not directly available to tenants.  Many renters are given the responsibility for keeping a garden tidy, and are penalised if they don’t, yet they do not have direct access to green waste bins and are forced to direct mulchable, useful material to general landfill. 

We believe that people who are saving money for our city while improving our environmental outcomes should not be penalised. In contrast, we should be encouraging more people to use green waste bins, making them more efficient and cost effective, while also contributing towards positive climate action.  

Regarding the issue of the low quality and affordability of household goods, the Greens strongly advocate for change in this area, however, this must be applied at upper levels of government. Whilst we ultimately want to see this situation rectified, we also want to ensure that Brisbane residents, who cannot afford high quality goods, are not penalised. 

THE BENEFITS

  • Renters able to dispose of larger items more easily (and for free).

  • Much less organic waste going to landfill.

  • Reduced carbon emissions.

  • Long term cost savings.

 

Green waste bins city-wide costing


Brisbane City Council currently spends around $8 million per annum on green waste recycling, but brings in revenue of around $9 million. There is insufficient information in Council’s published budget documents to ascertain the breakdown of costs and sources of profit. Council currently charges residents $21.51 quarterly ($86.04 per year) for a 240 litre green waste recycling bin.

 

 

To implement free greenwaste bins for all, the absolute maximum cost would be $34,000,000 ($86.04 per resident by 402,386 dwellings). However this cost would be offset significantly by increased revenue from the organic mulch produced by Brisbane moving to close to 100% collection of greenwaste.

Costing projections have been estimated at the highest possible value of uptake for the green waste bin, and do not include savings made by the increased efficiency of collecting more bins.

This initiative would constitute a saving for those households currently paying for a green bin.

Our “Make Developers Pay” initiative to increase infrastructure charges for developments in Brisbane, would raise $305,000,000 in additional revenue per year, more than sufficient to cover any additional costs of the greewaste scheme. Developers should be paying for the infrastructure Brisbane needs and that includes our waste management processes.

Green waste bins will be collected fortnightly, with the service eventually expanded to a full FOGO (Food Organics Garden Organics) system. We appreciate that not all households would use a green waste bin,  especially some apartments, and will explore options for other services to meet demand.

Authorised by K Carra for The Greens, Brisbane - AN 2020/0139