WA’s new bin plan


Photo by Michael Coghlan

New bins to be rolled out through Perth & Peel (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The WA Government has announced new targets to improve Western Australia’s household recycling rates, which include aims to have all councils in the Perth and Peel regions adopt a three-bin recycling system by 2025.

The plan includes a roll-out of new red-lidded bins to be used for Food and Garden Organics (FOGO). It is hoped that this will see food scraps and garden waste recycled into high-quality compost.

The FOGO bins are designed to combat contamination – non-recyclables binned with recyclables. Contamination is a major factor in WA’s relatively low household recycling numbers.

Historically, Western Australia has had the highest waste production per capita, as well as some of the lowest waste recovery numbers. According to the plan document, WA generates 2,023 kilograms of waste per capita per annum – more than any other state or territory, with the equal second lowest rate of resource recovery at only 48%. The State Government wants to see this improve to 70% by 2025, and 75% by 2030.

The State Environment Minister Stephen Dawson introduced the new policy, as part of the Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy, and spoke about the economic benefits of embracing recycling.

“Reducing the amount of waste disposed of to landfill can also generate significant economic opportunities for the Western Australian community.” He added that three times more jobs are created from recycling compared to landfill.

The announcement was made after the Waste Authority released their annual report, which shows that although WA posted a modest increase in household recycling rates to 38%, the state was still well under its target of 70% by 2020. The new bin policy follows suit of the Better Bins program, a $20 million dollar trial that has seen the roll-out of FOGO bins to the councils that signed-up.

The Waste Authority said in their report: “Our message on the importance of correct separation of waste at home, into the correct bins, is still not connecting fully with the community.”

A major factor that seems to be causing confusion is, not just the lack of education surrounding what should and should not be recycle but the systems that each council currently have in place.

The City of Stirling is Perth’s largest local government area. Many households there already have three bins: a yellow lid bin for recycling, a green lid bin for green waste, and a red lid bin marked ‘Garbage Only’.

The Waste Authority will struggle to run an effective education campaign to reduce contamination in household recycling, if these standard practices are not applied to all metropolitan councils.

State Premier Mark McGowan announced his political intentions of working together with the local councils ensuring all are working towards the same goal.

“By rolling out the three-bin system across all metropolitan local governments, we will ensure more value is recovered from household waste. Many WA households have welcomed the system with open arms, and my Government will work with local governments to build on that success.” He said.

The roll-out of FOGO bins is something the Waste Authority has long supported. Chairman Marcus Geisler, stated in the recent Annual Report that “further improvements in municipal solid waste diversion rates can only be achieved if local governments commit to rolling out better collection systems, such as FOGO.”

Alongside the changes to the way we recycle, the government has set targets of reducing overall waste generation per capita 10% by 2025, and 20% by 2030, as well as reducing the amount of waste in landfill to no more than 15% by 2030.