Why is Council proposing to change the current service?

    The current bulk waste service has been in place for 25 years and while it’s highly valued by our community, in current times it is no longer our best value option. We’ve reviewed our service against what other Council’s deliver and there’s opportunity to improve what we offer in Lake Mac, increasing flexibility for residents, formalising reuse opportunities with charitable partners, and reducing illegal dumping in local neighbourhood areas while improving the visual appeal of city streets.

    Will residents still get two services every year?

    Yes. Properties have access to two household clean-ups every twelve months which can be mixed and matched with either kerbside collections or vouchers. 

    Kerbside collections will allow you to book a kerbside collection that is convenient to you and the self-haul voucher will be the voucher that can be used to dispose of your bulk waste at the Awaba Waste Management Facility.

    Will I be able to access more than two bulk waste collections each year

    Each household is entitled to two bulk waste collections per year. However, if collections are required we anticipate we will be able to offer them for a fee. This fee will only be charged on a cost-recovery basis and will be determined at a later date.  

    How will the booking system work?

    Once the service starts you will be able to book your service on a range of nominated dates using an online form, or by calling our customer service team.

    You’ll also be able to order your ‘self haul’ voucher online or via phone.

    What materials can be disposed of?

    There are no changes to the materials that can be disposed of via a kerbside bulk waste collection. Residents can dispose of bulky household items, metal, green waste, mattresses and eWaste.

    How much bulk waste can I dispose of as part of the proposed service entitlements?

    Residents will be able to dispose of the same amount of material (two cubic metres) of combined waste material, per household per collection. The same volume limits apply when using a self-haul voucher.

    Under the proposed service changes, residents will have the added flexibility of redeeming both annual entitlements at once if they have a large quantity of material, whether it be via the kerbside collection or self-haul option.

    What happens to the material when its collected?

    Metals are recycled by Council's scrap metal merchant, to ratepayers for providing the bulk waste service. Green waste is recycled into mulch and compost. eWaste is collected, locally dissembled into component parts and then recycled.  Mattress components are recycled. 

    We are working on a system to connect local charitable organisations and specialised reuse and repair businesses with residents reusable items to formalise material reuse opportunities and stimulate job opportunities in the local circular economy. We are also exploring new recycling opportunities to save the remaining bulky household waste items from landfill.

    I live in a unit, complex or apartment - how does the service change affect me?

    In units and large complexes, bulk waste service arrangements can differ and are dependent upon a number of factors. Currently some townhouses and apartment developments cannot use the bulk waste service due to lack of storage or kerb space.

    Further, units in those development types are generally only entitled to 2 bulk waste collections per year, regardless of the number of residences within the development. This is because the single development only pays one domestic waste management charge each year. However, we anticipate that we will be able to offer a paid additional bulk waste collection, similar to how we currently offer additional green, yellow, and garbage bins. We have not yet determined the cost for this, but it would likely be on a cost recovery basis following the same principles as other domestic waste services. This paid additional service provides an equitable approach to ensuring access to the bulk waste service to all Lake Mac domestic properties and is an improvement on the current approach which makes the service unavailable to a number of properties.

    Will the proposed changes increase illegal dumping?

    The current scheduled kerbside bulk waste collection attracts substantial amounts of out of area illegal dumping. Experiences of other councils that have transitioned to a pre-booked collection and voucher system indicates that dumping decreases when there is no longer a publicised collection schedule. In addition, providing booked collection and voucher options provides households with the flexibility to get rid of bulky waste when they need to and reduces the instances of these materials being dumped in the bush and council reserves.

    Are any of the other waste services changing?

    There will be no change to garbage, recycling and green bin collections.  

    When will the proposed service changes start?

    The service changes are planned for the second half of 2023. Each property’s twelve month entitlement starts from the date of their first booking.

    Will the new service cost more money?

    The changes are designed to offset the increasing cost of the current bulk waste service model saving up to $5 million over 10 years.

    How can I provide feedback?

    Online feedback closed April 18 2022.

    Why does the survey not ask if residents agree with the proposed change to the bulk waste kerbside collection?

    The changes are considered necessary operational improvements to the way we deliver our waste services. We are seeking feedback from the community on how they might use the new service, and other waste disposal and recycling habits the community has. The new service will give residents the opportunity to choose either a kerbside pick-up or a self-haul voucher to visit the Awaba Waste Management Facility, allowing the community to schedule their pick-up or drop-off at a time that is convenient for them.

    The current bulk waste service has been in place for 25 years and, while it’s highly valued by our community, in current times, it is no longer our best value option. We’ve reviewed our service against what other councils deliver and there’s opportunity to improve what we offer in Lake Macquarie. 

     Some of the key benefits of the changed service include: 

    • increasing flexibility for residents, meaning residents will be able to choose to book a collection when it best suits them, such as when moving house, working on a DIY project or spring cleaning, rather than having to wait up to six months for their next collection 
    • formalising reuse opportunities with charitable partners 
    • reducing illegal dumping in local neighbourhood areas while improving the visual appeal of city streets.

    Won’t scavenging and general reuse opportunities be lost by changing to an on-demand service?

    Although the current scheduled service does create opportunities for people to scavenge or treasure hunt for reusable material, we are working on a system to connect local charitable organisations and specialised reuse and repair businesses with residents’ items that are still in good reusable condition.

    Currently, about 15 per cent of material collected through Council’s bulk waste service is recycled. Metals are recycled by Council’s scrap metal merchant. Green waste is recycled into mulch or compost. eWaste is collected, locally dissembled into component parts and then recycled, where possible. Mattresses and components are recycled by a local social enterprise. We are also exploring new recycling opportunities to save the remaining bulky household waste items from landfill, including the proposed Belmont North Reuse and Repair Facility project.

    Won't the proposed changes negatively impact the image of the city if residents could put out bulk waste at any time, rather than the scheduled twice a year?

    Currently, many households place their bulk waste out for collection two or more weeks prior to their scheduled collection. This can lead to hundreds of tonnes of waste sitting in a street for weeks before it gets collected by our collection vehicles, resulting in litter and material being degraded by rain, which affects the recyclability of many items. With the new booked collection service, residents will be requested to place their rubbish out the day before collection – no earlier. This is how most other councils offering booked collection services operate and we believe this will result in a reduction in waste awaiting collection, while improving amenity throughout our suburbs. Research into other council areas that have made similar service transitions also indicates that issues such as illegal dumping from out of area that gets added onto collection piles are dramatically reduced as the waste is only placed on the kerbside the day before it gets collected.

    I am a landlord – will I be able to use the kerbside collection or waste vouchers to clean up after my tenants have vacated the property?

    The kerbside collections and/or waste vouchers will only be issued for the occupier or tenant of the property and not the property owner. This will ensure the service is accessible to more residents. In addition, it will ensure that landlords do not use the vouchers for properties in which they do not reside. However, if needed, the landlord will have the option to request an additional collection for a fee. This fee will only be charged on a cost-recovery basis and will be determined at a later date.