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Kerbside collections trashed to save $5 million

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Bulk waste collections are set to become a thing of the past in Lake Macquarie as the council switches to a booking-only system to save cash. 

Under a new structure expected to take effect in March 2024, a household in the LGA would be required to book online to have bulk waste items removed from their kerbside. 

Each address will be entitled to two collections per year. 

Lake Macquarie City Council hopes the new system will clean up streets, reduce landfill and save ratepayers money. 

It also aligns with bulk waste collection systems in place across many other NSW local government areas. 

LMCC manager waste services Paul Collins says the switch is not a reduction in service. 

“A bookable service means people have more flexibility to get their bulk waste collected when it’s most convenient to them,” he said. 

“That might be when they’re moving house, when they’re doing spring cleaning or when their bulky goods no longer work and are beyond repair.” 

rubbish
LMCC manager waste services Paul Collins

If the new system is adopted by council, households will choose either two kerbside collections, two drop-off vouchers to Awaba Waste Management Facility or a combination of both. 

“Moving to a bookable service will create tidier streets and neighbourhoods, because it means bulky waste won’t fill the verge of entire suburbs at the same time,” Mr Collins said. 

“The waste also won’t stay out on the kerb as long, so there will be less litter after wind and rain.” 

Lake Mac produces the sixth-highest amount of bulky waste per household compared to the 42 other local government areas in NSW offering bulky waste services. 

“The amount of bulky waste we collect in Lake Mac has increased by 69% in the past 10 years,” Mr Collins said.

“We’re now collecting over 11,000 tonnes of bulky waste a year. 

“That’s clearly not sustainable over the long term.”

Illegal dumping on kerbside bulky waste piles has also been a growing problem for Lake Mac. 

“Other councils who have made similar transitions tell us that the incidences of illegal dumping generally decrease with the shift to a bookable service,” Mr Collins said. 

“And, our research shows that the increased flexibility of bookable services empowers people to do the right thing with their bulky waste and reduces the temptation to transport material around the city to add to other people’s piles.

“The absence of a published, suburb-wide schedule is also expected to decrease people dumping from outside the LGA”. 

Council will continue recycling e-waste, bundled green waste, mattresses and metals from bulky waste collected, and returns from metal recycling will continue. 

The booking system software will be designed to promote opportunities for residents to redirect or rehome quality bulk waste items that still have life left in them. 

The switch to a bookable service is expected to reduce bulky waste operating costs by around $5 million over 10 years after it is introduced. 

It is proposed that bookings for the new service will open next February, with the service starting in March 2024. 

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