Recycling mistakes might cost residents

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MORNINGTON Peninsula Shire is about to tackle waste and rubbish on several fronts.

It has adopted a carrot and stick approach to recycling, with fines for recycled waste being “contaminated” and offering the chance to win a $100 voucher to households “doing the right thing”.

Smoking is also being banned in some reserves and on popular foreshores and beaches, although no penalties will be imposed on anyone defying warning signs.

Recycling bins will be randomly checked for non-recyclable materials, with households doing the right thing going into a monthly draw for a $100 voucher.

Households with contaminated bins will be given a list of items that cannot be recycled and, if are serial offenders, face fines of up to $330.

“If contamination continues, we will call, visit or send a letter to provide some helpful tips,” a statement issued by the shire said.

“Significantly contaminated bins will not be emptied to prevent contaminating the truck load.

“Continued significant contamination will result in a fine and suspension of the recycling or green waste service.”

The mayor Cr Despi O’Connor said contaminated bins cost the shire and ratepayers about $600,000 a year.

The shire says its waste contamination policy follows a survey over summer to find out what could be done to encourage people to take recycling seriously.

“Unfortunately, contamination continues to be a major issue here on the peninsula,” a shire statement said.

“If we don’t get our recycling right, we will end up contaminating the bin or truck, making our recyclables go to landfill instead of … Mornington Peninsula’s sorting facility.

The seven most misplaced items in household recycling bins are bagged recyclables; household rubbish; food waste; garden waste; soft, “scrunchable plastics”; textiles; and polystyrene.

Details of the waste policy are at mornpen.vic.gov.au/wastepolicy and what can go into recycling bins at mornpen.vic.gov.au/wasteguide.

The decision to ban smoking was made in mid-2020 and ignored an officer’s recommendation for it to be delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Councillors voted against designating no-smoking areas, telling CEO John Baker to “ensure that the smoke-free policy is implemented as soon as practical.

“The impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic on resourcing availability, ability to engage stakeholders and implementation activities, further strengthens the argument for a prioritised and staged approach to implementation,” community safety coordinator Talana Cook stated in a report to the Tuesday 11 August council meeting.

Stage two of the smoking ban involves beaches (initially Mornington, Rye and Dromana), foreshore camping areas, sports and bushland reserves, community centres, senior citizen centres, beach boxes (in smoke free areas), golf courses, cemeteries and parks.

First published in the Frankston Times – 6 April 2021

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