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May 16, 2013

‘Worlds Best Practice’ Burnside Program Turns Compost-A-Pak Purple

The City of Burnside in the Adelaide inner-eastern suburbs, in partnership with MASTEC, have recently introduced a new fully integrated residential recycling, organics and waste collection service.

As John Draper, Senior Projects Officer with the City of Burnside, reported for WWM, the focus was on best practice, with the council drawing on the experience of other East Waste member councils, as well as numerous other councils and authorities from around Australia to implement a ‘best practice’ collection system that was easy to use, convenient, and most importantly, helped to maximise recycling and resource recovery, while minimising the amount of waste going to landfill.

As John stated; “From the outset, our key focus was to introduce a user-friendly service that would maximise recovery and minimise waste. After looking at a range of service options, Council felt confident that providing a fortnightly co-mingled recyclables service that incorporated kitchen organics would provide a significant boost to the overall reductions in waste-to-landfill. In short, we knew that we had to change systems, so we thought we may as well implement a ‘world’s best practice’ system with everything – one with the lot so to speak”, John added.

City of Burnside had their old ‘split bin’ system in operation for nearly 15 year. Whist the residents were obviously very familiar with its use, issues including the lack of capacity for recyclables, and cross contamination between the divided bin segments, as well as the aging assets was reducing the effectiveness of the program.

Given the longevity of the existing program, and the mature demographics of the City of Burnside, which includes a very high number of retirees and elderly residents, ensuring the new program maximised convenience and was rolled out efficiently was essential.

office kitchen bins

MASTEC provided the Council with a total solution which incorporated four bins, 3 MGBs for general, recycling and organics, and a kitchen tidy bin for organics.

In addition, to maximise convenience and so the volume of organics diverted from landfill, residents were also provided with Compost-A-Pak Liners. Compost-A-Pak Liners are made from corn-starch which is sourced from third grade corn in international regions with low rain fall, to minimise irrigation. The Liners are then printed and coloured with soy based inks. The liners are certified organic to the higher Australian standards, which mean they are proven to break down at the same rate as organics waste in both commercial composting facilities and in household composters. Being certified to Australian standards also means the Compost-A-Pak Liners are proven to leave no harmful residue after breaking down.

The bags improve the cleanliness and convenience of storing household kitchen waste and are suitably durable to ensure waste can be easily transported to Burnside’s new green bins.

In addition to the positive experience of residents, Peter Donnell, National Sales Manager for MASTEC also points to the service and distribution benefits of working with Source Separation Systems to provide the Compost-A-Pak Liners.

Council wheelie bins“Mastec Australia chose Compost-A-Pak, for supply to Burnside City Council based on competitive pricing, customer service and reliable on time supply. In fact the supply was early, removing all the concerns given the bags are a key component of the delivery schedule for council.  The benefits of the Compost-A-Pak liners during the delivery including the correct product, rolls being functionally banded and the protective outer packaging supplied, which ensures all the residents receive the bags in top condition.”

Whilst providing the high quality Compost-A-Pak liners to residents does increase organics diversion, contamination continues to be a challenge which requires focus. In the case of Burnside, a major public education campaign was launched, and the efficiency of the bin rollout was also highlighted as a key aspect of successfully engaging residents. The assembly and delivery process was managed by MASTEC and incorporated the use of technology such as RFID tags which provided state of the art reporting and management information.

However to minimise organics contamination, City Of Burnside took the additional step of changing the colour of the Compost-A-Pak bags to a unique purple colour. Supported by the comprehensive education program, this additional customisation further differentiated the certified Compost-A-Pak bags from contamination through the household collection, roadside pickup and processing phases.

Although the program is still relatively new, the feedback from residents in terms of the changeover to a ‘world’s best practice’ program has been positive.

Most importantly, as reported in the WWM , the wide-spread acceptance of the new services is also evidenced in the landfill disposal receipts, which are highlighting a significant reduction in the total amount of waste being deposited of at landfill. In the first month alone, there was a reduction of some 22% in the amount of putrescible waste being sent to landfill.