A bin tagging program will commence mid-February in selected households across the region to help educate residents to ‘recycle right’.
Bin tagging is part of the rollout of the new 3-bin FOGO system that was implemented during 2019 in the City of Melville, City of Fremantle and Town of East Fremantle.
The Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC) is undertaking the education program on behalf of the three Councils, with funding support from the state government, administered by the Waste Authority.
SMRC Chairperson Councillor Doug Thompson said the program aims to educate residents about how to use the new system and provide individual feedback to improve their efforts at home.
“Recycling is a shared responsibility,” Cr Thompson said.
“By everyone working together to ensure they put the right thing in the right bin, we can help create a less contaminated waste stream.”
“This will enable better recycling, reduce processing costs, send less waste to landfill, and in the case of FOGO—produce a high quality, clean compost.”
Areas chosen for bin tagging will be both targeted and chosen at random, to ensure feedback to households is fair and consistent.
Community Waste Education Officers will work in pairs to make a visual inspection of the bin’s contents prior to pick up on collection day.
They will check for contamination (wrong items in the bin), such as recyclables in the General Waste bin, or contamination in the FOGO and Recycling bins.
Following inspection, they will place a ‘happy’ or ‘sad’ tag on the handle of the bin which provides feedback about how well residents are using the bins or what can be improved.
The tags will be in line with the bin lid colours – lime green for the FOGO bin, yellow for the Recycling bin and red for the General Waste bin.
“This feedback can help to clarify any misconceptions or confusion residents may have about the new bin system and offers positive reinforcement to households sorting their waste correctly,” Cr Thompson said.
“Officers will not be ‘rummaging’ through the bins, rather they will be aiming to gain a general overview of how the household is sorting their waste and will not be looking at any resident’s personal information.”
Data recorded to understand key issues
For each inspection, Officers will record details of any contamination present in each bin and the level of contamination.
After data is collected from each round of tagging it will be analysed as a whole and results reported on a community rather than individual scale.
“This information is important for us to understand the key issues that need to be focused on when educating the community,” Cr Thompson said.
What if I do it wrong?
The program will focus on education rather than enforcement.
“Similar programs in other Local Government areas have shown most residents are interested in doing the right thing when it comes to separating their waste if they are given the correct information,” Cr Thompson said.
In a small number of cases where residents’ bins show repeated high contamination following several visits, the bin will not be collected.
A tag informing the resident that the bin was not able to be collected will be attached to the bin, listing the contaminants and requesting they be removed. The bin will also be taped shut to let waste truck drivers know not to empty it.
What if I do it right?
Incentives will be offered for households that consistently ‘recycle right’ with no contamination, as well as households that show the most improvement.
Waste Education & Projects Officer, Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC)
Phone: 9329 2700 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Communications Manager, Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC)
Phone: 0488 594 324 | Email: email@example.com
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L-R: SMRC CEO Tim Youé, Fremantle Mayor Brad Petitt, East Fremantle Deputy Mayor Cr Jenny Harrington and Melville Mayor George Gear.
Notes for Editors
About Bin Tagging program
In 2015, WALGA successfully piloted this Program with the Town of Kwinana, City of Joondalup and Town of Cambridge. In these Local Governments, correct recycling rates increased substantially. A follow up audit a year later showed that correct recycling behaviour has continued.
One of the reasons for the Program’s success is that while the community’s attitude and enthusiasm towards recycling is generally very good. A simple lack of knowledge about what is and isn’t recyclable can cause some confusion. The program directly addresses this barrier by reminding us what can and can’t go into recycling bins.
Common contamination/recycling mistakes
- Recyclables (paper, cardboard, cans, glass, hard plastics) must be placed loose in the recycling bin (not in bags). Our sorters do not open or empty bags for safety reasons and the recyclable material ends up in landfill.
- Items such as nappies, food and green waste in the recycling bin contaminate the other recyclable materials in the bin. This can mean that the entire truck load of recyclables may go to landfill as they are no longer of good quality. Place nappies in the general (red) waste bin, and food/green waste in your FOGO bin.
- Soft plastics cannot be sorted in our Materials Recovery Facility, so please place in the general waste (red) bin or take to your local REDCycle drop off points found at many supermarkets.
- Most electronic items such as TVs and Computers are recyclable – just not through the kerbside recycling bin, they should be taken to an e-waste drop off day or one of the local transfer stations/landfills.
- Hazardous materials like lightbulbs, paint, pesticide, batteries, solvents and gas bottles, can all be recycled but not through the kerbside recycling bin. They can cause explosions or fires. To find your nearest drop off point visit https://recycleright.wa.gov.au/
- Textiles can’t be recycled through our facility. If they are still in usable condition, they can be donated through charity shops. If not, they should be placed in the red-topped general waste bin.
- Plastic bags will not break down during composting, so compostable liners or newspaper should always be used to wrap food before placing it in the FOGO bin. Replacement liners are available from your Council.
- Plastic and polystyrene packaging will not compost, so please remove food from packaging before placing in the bin.
- Coffee pods (even compostable ones) should not be placed in the FOGO bin as they do not break down sufficiently.
- Tissues are fine in the FOGO bin as they break down, but please place other toiletries in the general waste (red) bin.
About the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council
The Southern Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC) is one of five regional councils in the Perth metropolitan area and is a local government entity. The SMRC region currently spans 340km2, servicing 110,000 households with a combined population of over 288,000 people. The SMRC was established in 1991. Member councils include the City of Fremantle, City of Melville, City of Kwinana and Town of East Fremantle.
About the Regional Resource Recovery Centre (RRRC)
The SMRC operates the Regional Resource Recovery Centre (RRRC) in Canning Vale, processing recyclables, general waste alongside food and garden waste collected from household bins and verge collections.
The RRRC’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) currently processes 300 tonnes per day or 75,000 tonnes per annum of recyclable materials from the yellow-topped bin. It recovers 83% of materials. The MRF utilises state of the art technology to separate and sort the following materials:
- Glass – sorted, crushed and transported to a local contractor where it is processed for use in road base
- Paper and cardboard – sorted into different categories, baled and sent to international markets to be processed into new products
- Plastics – sorted into different categories, baled and sent to international markets to be processed into new products
- Steel and aluminium cans – sorted into different categories, baled and sent to domestic and international markets to be processed into new products.