Making News
From paddock to plate to paddock again
by Mornington Peninsula Magazine

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Kids won’t eat their dinner? Give it to the dog. Dog getting fat? Throw it on the compost heap (the food, silly, not the dog). No compost heap? No problem: from July 19, Mornington Peninsula Shire residents will be able to put all their food waste – including bread, dairy and meat – in their green waste bins.

Currently, food waste makes up 45.5 per cent of the contents of our rubbish bins. When food and other organic waste is sent to landfill, it creates methane, a greenhouse gas 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide. But from July, your food scraps will be turned into commercial-grade compost to be used as soil conditioners or fertilisers, enriching our soil and helping to grow food. By keeping food waste out of landfill, you’ll be helping the Shire reach its zero-waste target and reducing our impact on climate change too.

If you live in the urban zone of the Shire but don’t have a green waste bin yet, you can order one for an annual fee of $135. If you’re renting, speak to your landlord about getting one. If you need something to keep your scraps in before taking them out to the bin, the Shire has free food waste caddies and biodegradable caddy-liners that you can order before June 25. They’ll be delivered, along with an information kit, to your Shire address from July 12. If you don’t need a caddy, free liners can be picked up from the Shire’s Mornington, Rosebud or Hastings customer service centres from July 5. It is important to dispose of food scraps in these liners only and not in any other compostable or degradable types, but you can also just throw your food scraps straight in the green waste bin, which will continue to be emptied every fortnight. If you happen to live in an area that’s not eligible for a green waste bin, the Shire is offering a rebate on compost bins so you can make your own compost from your food waste.

“Food waste collection is one of the key initiatives to come out of our Beyond Zero waste strategy,” said Mayor Despi O’Connor, “and it will have a huge impact on our local environment by reducing the amount of waste we send to the Rye landfill site. The food and green waste collected by councils is turned into valuable mulch and compost used to nourish farms, parks and gardens across Victoria. By making sure only the right items are going in the bin, you are playing an important part in returning valuable nutrients back to the earth. It is important to keep the wrong items out so they don’t end up on farms and in gardens. Incorrect items such as plastic bags, wire and nappies don’t break down even if they are labelled compostable.”

Meanwhile, have you ever wondered exactly what happens to your recycling after it is collected, and how all the co-mingled items are separated and processed? The Shire is holding free online workshops to help take some of the mystery out of recycling. You’ll be able to observe a material recovery centre as a series of conveyor belts, material-specific machines, manual sorters and massive trommels make light work of separating 340 tonnes of used packaging a day. You’ll also learn some valuable recycling do’s and don’ts. The workshops are presented by the Rethink Centre, an education initiative helping communities rethink the amount of waste they produce and where it goes. They’re on Tuesday, May 11, from 12.30-1.45pm, and Thursday, May 13, from 7-8.15pm.

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