Frequently Asked Questions
increase the quality and volume of recycling and reuse of resources
reduce waste, landfill and litter
reduce emissions and contribute to Victoria’s net-zero emissions by 2050
create new jobs
build a sustainable and thriving circular economy for a cleaner, greener Victoria
food organics and garden organics (FOGO)
Why are we changing our kerbside collection services to a four-stream system?
In 2020, the Victorian Government released its 10-year circular economy policy, Recycling Victoria: A new economy.
The Policy steps out the systemic change that’s needed to:
The Policy requires household waste and recycling services be standardised across the state. All households will have access to four waste and recycling streams, including:
Councils across Victoria need to implement these changes.
FOGO makes up over 66% of waste in residential kerbside garbage bins in Mitchell Shire.
By introducing a FOGO service, we can divert a significant amount of material from landfill and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by composting this material.
When organic matter ends up in landfill it creates methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than CO2.
Glass, when crushed into paper in the recycling collection truck, contaminates recyclable paper material, making it unusable. By introducing a separate glass recycling service, we can increase the quantity and quality of recycled material, allowing us to get the most value from our resources.
What is the new four-stream system, and do I get to have a say in how these new services are delivered?
The kerbside service will be standardised throughout the state. This means that bin lid colours will be the same everywhere, and that the same material can be recycled in each bin type, no matter where you live in Victoria.
However, for many rural and regional areas, the four-bin system might not make the most sense. We will consider how these new services are delivered, based on different community needs.
The changes to the recycling system mean that glass will no longer be able to be collected in a mixed recycling bin like it currently is. It will have to be collected separately, either via a kerbside service or at a drop-off facility.
The introduction of a separate food and garden organics bin means people will be able to dispose of household volumes of food and garden waste via the kerbside service. Material collected through a food and garden organics service will be processed at an industrial composting facility, which can compost the full range of solid food waste, including meat, onions, and citrus.
To facilitate the collection of food and garden organics, many Councils also provide ‘kitchen caddies’ and compostable bags to households.Council has not decided how these services will be delivered and will consider feedback from the community to understand how we can support a logical and cost-effective transition to a four-stream system.
When will these new services be introduced in Mitchell Shire?
Council’s existing waste and recycling contracts finish in 2025, which means the new services will be introduced in the same year.
Mitchell Shire Council, together with councils across North-East Victoria, is participating in a joint tender for waste and recycling collection and processing services, so Council can deliver these new services.By acting now, we are allowing adequate time for service providers to invest in new equipment and facilities to meet the demand of councils across Victoria. By pooling our resources with other regional councils through a joint tender process, we can make the opportunity more attractive for potential providers to invest in our region.
Why are some councils getting the new system before Mitchell Shire?
The change of our collection contract provides the best opportunity for Council to roll out new services and minimise the cost impacts.
Council’s existing waste and recycling contracts finish in 2025, the new services will be introduced in the same year.
Mitchell Shire Council, together with councils across North-East Victoria, is participating in a joint tender for waste and recycling collection and processing services, so Council can implement these new services.
By acting now, we are allowing adequate time for service providers to invest in new equipment and facilities to meet the demand of councils across Victoria. By pooling our resources with other regional councils through a joint tender process, we can make the opportunity more attractive for potential providers to invest in our region.
Will separating waste and recycling into four streams support better environmental outcomes?
Absolutely. Recycling materials means we don’t rely on raw materials as much to produce goods.
Food and garden organics make up more than 66% of waste in residential kerbside garbage bins in Mitchell Shire.
By introducing a food and garden organics service, we can divert a significant amount of material from landfill and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by composting this material.
When organic matter ends up in landfill it creates methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than CO2.
What kerbside collection services do we have currently in Mitchell Shire?
Our current standard kerbside collection service includes a weekly garbage service (red lid) in a 120L bin, and a fortnightly comingled (mixed) recycling service (yellow lid) in a 240L bin.
The recycling service collects mixed recyclables, which include glass, aluminum, and steel cans, plastic bottles and containers, and paper and cardboard.
Our recycling is transported in the recycling collection truck to the Visy Recycling facility in Heidelberg, where it is separated into component commodities before being sold or used directly by Visy to make more packaging.
Our garbage waste is disposed of at the Mitchell Landfill, which is owned by Council and operated under an EPA licence.
We provide kerbside collection services in all major townships and along connector roads within the Shire.
If your property is not eligible for a kerbside collection service Council provides a number of kerbside collection points throughout the Shire for you to use. Or you can drop off your garbage and recycling at Council’s Resource Recovery Centres in Seymour, Broadford, Pyalong, or Wallan or, elect to engage a private collection service.
Ratepayers who have a kerbside service will see a waste service charge on their annual Rates Notice. This charge covers the costs associated with the kerbside collection service, including waste disposal and processing of recycling. It also helps fund other waste services such as landfill operations, public litter bins, and waste education programs and allows us to subsidise prices and provide ratepayers with vouchers for Council's Resource Recovery Centres. The waste service charge is applied to all residential properties with a habitable dwelling, located within a compulsory collection zone.For the 2022/23 financial year, the waste service charge is $492. Properties that do not receive a kerbside collection service don't pay this charge.
Are we currently out for tender for kerbside services?
Mitchell Shire Council, together with councils across North-East Victoria, is participating in a joint tender for waste and recycling collection and processing services, so Council can implement the Victorian Government’s 'Recycling Victoria: A new economy' Policy. This process will be wrapping up at the end of 2022.
The New Bins
Where will I put my bins? I don’t have enough space?
As we have not yet settled on the model for the new services we have not yet confirmed the number or size of the new bins.
Council along with the Community Working Group will be looking at opportunities to solve problems such as these including sharing bins where practicable.
How big will the bins be? Can I still upsize?
As we have not yet settled on the model for the new services, the number or size of the new bins is yet to be confirmed.
All residents can currently upgrade to a larger kerbside garbage bin or organise extra garbage and recycling bins for a fee. This will continue with the new services.
For more info on ordering extra bins www.mitchellshire.vic.gov.au/services/waste-and-resource-recovery/your-garbage-and-recycling-bins/update-your-kerbside-bin-service
Will my collection day change?
As we have not yet settled on the model for the new services we are not sure of the impact to bin collection days, but you will still only have one collection day per week.
I have a large family/special circumstances will there be exemptions?
As we have not yet engaged a contractor for the new services we are not sure of exactly how exemptions will be managed.
I don't have a kerbside collection (or I live on a rural property) how will these changes effect me?
Our compulsory kerbside collection zone for residential properties includes all major townships and along connector roads within the Shire (this accounts for about 90% of residents).
If your property is outside the compulsory collection zone, then you have the option to opt-in. This opt-in service is delivered through the use of collection points within our collection zones. For people currently utilising these opt-in collection points we are keen to hear your thoughts on these new services! We are considering a separate opt-in for additional services.
Properties outside the compulsory collection zone may also elect to engage a private collection service.
Properties outside the compulsory collection zone (who do not op-in for a collection point) will not be impacted by these changes and are not charged for a kerbside service.
Complete the survey to let us know wow can we best support rural properties outside our compulsory kerbside collection zone.
Glass Only Recycling
What can I put in my Glass recycling bin?
As we have not yet engaged a contractor for the new services we cannot yet provide a full list, but we do know that glass bottles and jars will be accepted however, window glass, mirror glass and other glass will not be.
Some contractors accept bottles with lids and others do not.
Don't we already recycle glass?
Yes, glass can currently be recycled in your yellow lid recycling bin, however this will be changing in 2025.
Mitchell Shire Council, along with all Victorian Councils, will be required to provide a separate kerbside collection service or a drop-off service for glass items. You will no longer be able to dispose of glass in the yellow-lid recycling bins.
Glass will have improved recycling outcomes when separated into a glass-only bin. Additionally, removing broken glass from the other recyclables will produce higher quality recycled material for reuse.
Food and Garden Organics
- Dairy, bread, and meat bones
- Rose clippings
- Pet droppings
- Corn cobs
- Noxious weeds such as blackberry bush
I already compost or manage food waste at home – will I be required to have a FOGO bin?
That’s great to hear! And keep up the good work. As you may already know, the FOGO service will provide you with a convenient and environmentally-friendly way to compost items that you wouldn’t typically put through a home compost or a worm farm.
For example: noxious weeds including gorse and blackberry, rose prunings, meat and seafood – cooked or raw – dairy products, spoiled food, rice and pasta, pet droppings.
Council has not decided how these services will be delivered and will seek feedback from the community to understand how we can support a logical and cost-effective transition to a four-stream system.
What Can I put in my Food and garden organics bin?
As we have not yet engaged a contractor for the new services we cannot yet provide a full list, but we do know that food scraps and many garden wastes will be accepted including:
Won't my rubbish bin get smelly?
No question, bins are smelly!
But, by diverting your food waste to the Food and Garden Organics bin (collected weekly) most of your smelly waste will be picked up sooner rather than later.
Bagging landfill items correctly, keeping bin lids closed and storing bin in the shade can also help to reduce smell.
I'm concerned how much nappies are going to smell if they sit in the bin for two weeks.
A trial study by Lake Macquarie City Council addressed concerns around increased odour and limited space in a fortnightly landfill collection.
The study found that when households disposed of recycling and food and garden organics waste in the right bins, wrapped soiled nappies in plastic bags or newspaper, and stored the bin in the shade, space and odour issues were avoided.
The study found that the smell of the nappies in the bin was no worse at the end of 2 weeks than at the end of 1 week.
Mitchell Council is also trailing a Cloth Nappy Giveaway Program to help support families with nappies during the transition.
What will these changes cost me?
As we have not yet settled on the model for the new services it is hard to provide an exact cost.
We have some modelling from 2019 about what these services might cost, and we also have some indicative prices from the current market. However, the industry is changing quickly, and these may not reflect the true cost. Using the information we have, we are able to compare the models and provide the relative costs.
There are significant opportunities for cost recovery including reducing landfill costs. We want to minimise the cost to residents as much as we can while still providing a great service.
At this stage we think the best practice option suggested would cost each household something in the order of an additional $100-150 per year.
Once we have settled on a model and know the additional costs, we will inform the community.
Will the new four-stream system mean an increase in my rates waste service charge?
The introduction of the new four-bin system will come at a cost, and at least some of that cost will need to be recovered from users of these new services.
With different options available to us for the ways we can deliver waste and recycling services, each option will come with different costs. While we don’t yet know the exact costs, they will depend on several factors, including community feedback and preferences for the delivery of the new services, the cost of collection, the availability and cost of processing services, and additional funding support from the Victorian Government.
Council will soon be asking you how you would like to see your waste and recycling services delivered. To support you to provide well-informed feedback, we’ll provide guidance on the potential cost implications of the services and include the benefits and disadvantages of each of the options available to us.Once we receive and review tender submissions, we can start to put together different pricing models. Some options will be cheaper, and some will be more expensive – some will have better environmental outcomes compared to others, and some will involve less change than others.
Is hard waste collection part of Council’s Circular Economy Reform?
Hard waste collection and management is not a part of the Circular Economy Reform, which is focused solely on the collection of waste and recycling via the kerbside bin system.
Council operates four Resources Recovery Centres across the Shire to assist ratepayers to manage their hard waste. Council also provides resource recovery centre vouchers each year with your rates notice.
Your rates notice contains a barcode that can be scanned up to 5 times at any of our Resource Recovery Centres.
We acknowledge that this service is not suitable to everyone, especially those without cars. Council is currently investigating options to assist all residents to manage their hard waste. There are also private contractors who can provide a hard waste collection service.
What is the Container Deposit Scheme?
The Victorian Government’s Recycling Victoria Policy also mandates the introduction of a Container Deposit Scheme (CDS - aka drink bottle refund) by 2023.
This CDS is still being designed, and we do not know when it will be introduced. At this stage, it is proposed that the CDS will look very similar to the New South Wales scheme, with the use of reverse vending machines where you will be able to take empty drink cans and bottles for a 10c refund.
More information on the CDS can be found here.
The CDS targets some of the same materials as the kerbside recycling collection service and will impact the cost of these new services.
What does Circular Economy mean?
A circular economy continually seeks to reduce the environmental impacts of production and consumption, while enabling economic growth through more productive use of natural resources.
It allows us to avoid waste with good design and effective recovery of materials that can be reused.
The value people obtain from the resources used to create goods and services increases.
It transforms our linear economy mindset – take, use and throw away – and fosters innovation and productivity that invigorates existing businesses and creates new ones, delivering more jobs, more growth and more social inclusion to the local, regional, state and global economies.
Are commercial and business collections part of this change?
The current and future kerbside bin system will be designed for residential use.
However, some smaller businesses, schools, and commercial operations utilise Council’s current kerbside bin system and may continue to do so in the future.
How will Mitchell’s growth impact our waste services?
Mitchell Shire is Victoria’s fastest growing outer metropolitan municipalities. The population of 49,000 is expected to reach 181,000 in the next 20 years.
We are currently seeing this population growth equate to about a 6-7% increase in services each year and we expect this to grow.
This growth will be accounted for in our planning and implementation of the four-bin system.
Which bin does the kitty litter go in?
It might be able to go in Food and Garden Organics bin (collected weekly).
We have not yet decided on a contractor to process our Food and Garden Organics. Some contractors accept certain types of kitty litter and many accept pet waste of all descriptions.
Will information be provided in languages other than English?
Council along with the Community Working Group will be looking at waste and recycling information that is needed in languages other than English.