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Byron Shire
April 21, 2021

Mandy Nolan’s Soap Box: Where you wheelie bin?

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I don’t like the green bin. A few weeks back the council came around and dropped off a new member for our bin family. Mr Green. Mr Red Lid eyed Mr Green Lid suspiciously, as did Mr Yellow Lid. We didn’t even know Mr Green was coming. He just showed up all unannounced and forced his way into the bin family.

It really upset our bin routine. Up until a few weeks ago Mr Red was the alpha bin. He went out every week, leaving poor old Mr Yellow at home. The next day someone would drag Mr Red home, totally trashed, and Mr Yellow would spend the rest of the week sulking, until it was time for their two-weekly date night and they’d get to spill their guts together, returning with the secretive afterglow you get after a shared binge.

Now here was Mr Green. The new bin on the block, squeezing himself between Mr Yellow and Mr Red. Instead of just easing himself in, Mr Green fought for domination, and as it turned out he was the only bin who was going out every week. Mr Red couldn’t believe it. In fact Mr Red insisted going out on a week that was not assigned to him and it was Mr Green who got all the attention. Mr Red was brought home humiliated and dejected, his bulging contents causing his lid to rise up from his lip ever so slightly. ‘How will I make it to next week?’ he sobbed.

He may be the new bin on the block but, these days, bin collection is all about Mr Green. Mr Red bin hates him. So do I. I resent his shiny plastic lid and his ‘I’m all about responsible recycling’ approach. The truth is, a garbage truck comes around every week to collect a bin that isn’t even a quarter full. Surely picking up almost-empty bins isn’t remotely sustainable?

And why do I need to wrap my compost in plastic and put it in Mr Green? I have two compost bins that we fill with vegetable scraps, lawn clippings and food scrapings that we use on our garden. We have been making our own rich garden soil for years. Now Mr Green has arrived, my kitchen compost is empty. It seems that it’s more environmental to send out one’s compostable waste to be processed into soil somewhere else. When we need soil we can get another truck to come around and I guess we will have to buy it back.

I don’t understand why you would introduce a complicated new system when the old one seems more efficient and involves more autonomy. Besides, I am worried that we aren’t throwing away enough food. I can’t even half fill Mr Green bin. I said to my husband, ‘go through the fridge, there must be something else in there for Mr Green. He’s hungry.’ I cooked up double quantities of rice this week to try to bulk up my food waste. If the bananas had the slightest burst seam or an apple had a bruise, they went straight in. I threw out all Ivy’s drawings. School reports. Those ugly pink letters from the tax office demanding advance payments against an amount I haven’t yet earned. I even threw in the council rates notices that I like to ignore. I still hadn’t reached the halfway mark.

There is a new disharmony in my bin family. Mr Red and Mr Yellow struggle to contain their bulging fullness, while Mr Green flirts with the freedom of his emptiness and when it comes to doing the hard yards, he barely lifts his lid. I don’t trust Mr Green bin. It might sound like rubbish, but I am convinced he’s up to something. It’s not conclusive, I am just putting it out there… the bin that is.

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  1. Spot on Mandy!! We’ve had the same break down in relationships in our bin family too! Mt Green isn’t even dirty – did anyone think to check how much of the shire operates compost piles??

  2. Sorry guys but I welcome the Green bin. As I get older I find the (very) regular trips, from Ocean Shores to the tip, to get rid of the Green waste that didn’t fit into the Red bin, were getting a bit arduous. We have had a full green bin every week so far.

  3. I can make compost, I mean I really make compost, I set up a system in the Saudi Arabia that now makes 50,000T per year at Astra Farms. I did do a presentation and proposal for council to make their own compost at the Bangalow sewage treatment plant site where there seems to be more then adequate room, I took me e few days of diligent work to prepare the presentation, however after the presentation, I did not get so much as a ‘thank you’ and when I offered to meet with council to further discuss possibilities for no charge, they told me that they could not talk compost because it may lead to a ‘conflict of interest’ Now we send compostables via the ‘green bin’ to far off lands (Lismore) at great trucking expense and pay them to take our community asset of compostable material that we then have to buy back more expense and more trucking, is this ‘green’ or is this just ‘green painting’. Thinking green means that we use waste as resource, huddle it less, reduce embodied energy and turn wast into a community asset. Every farm and garden in the shire could use compost, and yes we can make our own compost or just put our kitchen scraps in a back yard worm farm… too ezy. thanks for reading Paul Taylor

  4. Green hasn’t gone out yet… there’s only an inch or two of noxious weeds rotting in the bottom. I snuck that rubbery little green bag with a few bones, citrus and onion skins (the compost loving worms don’t like) into someone else’s green wheelie… it was less than a quarter full. My bins might be ready to go out by Xmas.

  5. I already responded with quite a long comment about basically saying that we should be managing, making and using our green waste here in the shire, and that sending it out to Lismore is not the ‘best option’. Upon further investigations it seems that getting licensing to set up a composting facility is a bit of a nightmare so the ‘better option’ is to send it to Lismore. OK thats the best we can do under the circumstance, at lest we are doing something.
    Yes our home bins are empty, but why not ‘share the bin’ and get together with the neighbours and just use one bin for every 6 houses making the pick ups more efficient, less stops less fuel, less pollution more efficiency and more cooperation between neighbours.
    . We are dealing with more than our home food waste, restaurants, supermarkets, council, hospitals, and whatever so it better than having it rot in the tip after all. Of course we are faced with waste from west byron that his knocking at our door but thats another issue. The best use of kitchen waste is a small worm farm and then a home garden. thanks paul taylor


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