The red bin debate continues...
The red bin debate continues...

For/against weekly red bin collection: here's the debate

AND so the debate continues....

Should the red garbage bin be collected weekly instead of fortnightly? The DEX caught up with a few locals with opposing views, plus the Clarence Valley Council general manager Scott Greensill, to dig up the dirt on the great stink debate.

Here's how it unfolded:


Where it began...

WATERVIEW Heights mum Kellie Benn nearly threw up in her back yard when she caught a whiff of the stench coming from her nappy-laden red garbage bin.

"I nearly doubled over on the lawn it was so yuck," Kellie said.

"It stunk and the bin was all fly-blown and maggotty."

Angry at the knowledge the bin would be emptied only every fortnight, Ms Benn took to Facebook, where her post hit a nerve, with more than 700 people liking the post and more than 300 commenting on it.

"I had no idea I was going to get the response I did when I put this post up on Facebook," she said.

Here's what she posted to The DEX's Facebook page:



Kellie Benn's Facebook post calling for weekly collection of red garbage bins has gone ballistic.
Kellie Benn's Facebook post calling for weekly collection of red garbage bins has gone ballistic.

DOES anyone else in the Clarence Valley believe that our fortnightly red bin collection should be happening weekly?

Especially in this heat. I'm really concerned about the health hazards of our red bins sitting for a fortnight laden with maggots in between collection dates.

Even for the people who do the right thing and recycle, our red bins are almost always at capacity after a fortnight, not to mention ripe with the stench of rot and decay.

Not everything that attracts maggots is biodegradable/compostable hence not able to be taken away in the weekly green bin collection (which is for the most part obsolete for those of us living on acreage who do not need to dispose of lawn clippings n who have their own compost system).

As a mum, the red bin is full of soiled nappies. These are neither recyclable or compostable, so they sit for a fortnight in the red bin (bagged, of course) but still attract flies and are a haven for maggot activity. A friend of mine already posed this question to council with a response from them suggesting to freeze the soiled nappies until collection day. I'm sure this is unhygienic, not to mention impractical. Most of us don't have a spare freezer or the extra cash to run a freezer just to store soiled nappies.

I'm sure they wouldn't subsidise our electricity bill either. This issue really bothers me and quite a few others I have spoken to as it really is a health hazard.

As a rate payer I do understand that council is trying to cut costs and reduce our contribution to landfill, but surely there is a more sanitary way.



KEN Shephard describes himself as an avid mountain bike rider and says there is a link between the fortnightly collection of red garbage bins and the amount of rubbish he sees dumped on his favourite trails.

"The problem as I see it is they (Clarence Valley Council) are not going to do weekly collections and they no longer allow us a yearly skip bin free of charge, and the fees to use the landfill site are too dear, so people are going to put their rubbish into a trailer and dump it," Mr Shephard said.

"When I do mountain bike riding out on the trails off the Lilypool Rd, the rubbish dumped everywhere is just an eyesore and really looks bad for our region," he said.

Mr Shephard said he had no gripe with the need to recycle, but said the council could sweeten the deal for people.

"If we're not going to get a free skip for rubbish, why not two or three vouchers to use the landfill to encourage people to use the service," he said.

"People have to realise it's not reducing the amount of rubbish, but just spreading it out.

"Whether it's taken away weekly or fortnightly, it's still the same amount of garbage."

"Whether it's taken away weekly or fortnightly, it's still the same amount of garbage."

Mr Shephard was not convinced replacing disposable nappies with cloth ones was the answer.

"There's always extra costs," he said.

"I haven't done the calculations, but there's the extra water of washing as well as the convenience factor.

"The world has moved on from those times."


EDITORIAL: The DEX editor David Moase shared his opinion.



SEEMS the red bin is doing a fine job of causing the faces of those wanting a weekly collection to turn the same shade out of frustration.

With various putrid stenches at a peak in these hot humid months, maggots and other revolting crawlies are having a ball for up to two weeks at our expense among the festering contents.

You have to feel for those ratepayers whose problems would all be solved if the red bin was collected weekly.

Problem is I don't.

Providing that service is the lazy way out, an approach that ensures those personal blinkers remain intact and the big picture never quite comes into focus. This happens when we reduce problems to the size of your own backyard, or bin in this case.

What about asking yourself what is it that is stinking up your rubbish. Unrecycable plastic? Broken items?

I'm not Columbo but it seems to keep coming back to two things - meat/seafood wrappers and disposable nappies. I only deal with meat wrappers these days which get a rinse in the sink before being thrown in the bin. This normally alleviates the problem. It takes a few seconds. Some people are better than that and buy all their meat from a butcher and avoid all that individual plastic packaging in the first place.

But at the heart of most of the stinky red bin syndrome are those nappies - the loaded up little packets of poop and pee that our future off-loads at an alarming rate.

Pack them down in that plastic incubator called the red bin in the middle of our summer and it creates the ideal environment for the stuff of nightmares.

Rather than get angry about it and tell council to fix it, take a deep breath (away from the bin) and ask yourself why that nasty council is doing this to you.

My guess is they are trying to rail in the Clarence's toss-away society through a bin strategy that works if you are willing to give it a go. Most food scraps including meat and seafood goes in the green bin and if you toss in some garden off-cuts, clippings or vacuum, dust into the mix, the smell becomes more earthy and less stilton cheese.

The yellow bin for recyclables shouldn't stink at all, but if you don't give your milk bottles or cans a quick rinse before you toss them in, they too can smell a bit sour in this heat.

The red bin should follow suit if you rinse those smellier items before you discard. But nappies, well, dig your heels in because you ain't going to like this.

Cloth nappies and washable liners were the main bum disposal unit at my household many moons ago. Disposables came into play occasionally for special treats like when you weren't within reach of a washing machine.

Sure there was a bit of unpleasant excavation work required before rinsing and soaking, but you know, it's your kid and all that, so it's not like you are performing an amputation (some came close though). You can also give those disposables a pre-bin flick into the loo if that helps keep the poop ratio down.

And while a lot of youngsters go to daycare (like mine), it can be tricky to incorporate some kind of less damaging trajectory into your routine to help lessen the reliance on landfill-unfriendly disposables. Do childcare centres have a disposables-only policy?

There are advances being made in nappy manufacturing including biodegradable versions that go straight into your green bin. Yes, being new, they're more expensive, but that will change with popularity.

The bottom line is, quite literally, do you really think asking council to pick up your smelly mess more often is the best way forward for the planet (take yourself out of the picture for a minute), the place we all have the share and want to keep healthy for those kids you are raising.

The bottom line is, quite literally, do you really think asking council to pick up your smelly mess more often is the best way forward for the planet (take yourself out of the picture for a minute), the place we all have the share and want to keep healthy for those kids you are raising.

Perhaps council needs to stop poo-pooing around and use the blunt approach of "if you wouldn't bury it in your own backyard, don't bury it in ours" and stick that on the side of the garbage trucks.

Households with smelly bin issues need to look at their garbage disposal habits first before demanding someone else fixes it for them. The more you do it, the less harrowing and time-consuming it becomes and soon everything comes up smelling like roses (well better those red bins at least).

It's kind of like remembering to take your canvas bags grocery shopping, although I've heard a few people say they make damn good nappy bags.




Clarence Valley Council general manager Scott Greensill Photo Contributed NO RESALE
Clarence Valley Council general manager Scott Greensill Photo Contributed NO RESALE Contributed

Mr Greensill said the fortnightly collection was introduced because of a need to reduce the amount of waste going into landfill, which attracts a State Government landfill levy.

"We can't introduce a weekly red-bin service without passing the cost on to ratepayers, and most of them don't require a weekly collection," he said.

"They would then have to pay for a service they don't need or want.

"Most ratepayers have a weekly green bin collection and organic material should be going in there so there is no smell from rotting food or other organic matter in the red bin.

"I've spoken with our environmental staff, and they advise there are things people with children in nappies can do to ease or eliminate the problem.

"First - and I know it's not convenient for everyone - is to use cloth nappies. There is a range of new materials on the market that are comfortable for children and nothing goes in the red bin from these.

"People can also flush solid waste from disposable nappies before putting them in bags and into the red bin.

"There are also private contractors who provide nappy collection services."


What do you think?

Do you think the red garbage bin should be collected weekly instead of fortnightly?

This poll ended on 03 February 2015.

Current Results

No, keep it fortnightly.


Yes, it should be collected weekly.


This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

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