A Sydney council investigation has found 700 of its residents’ recycle bins were regularly dumped into the same rubbish truck as garbage bins.
Canterbury Bankstown reviewed its waste system after Herald revealed the practice had gone on for decades, infuriating residents who had faithfully separated their landfill from recyclables without being told their efforts were pointless.
In response, the council has redesigned runs and added more trucks. It is also introducing new technology that will identify which households and streets are routinely contaminating recycling trucks, so education campaigns can be targeted.
The furore over the revelations has fueled a local push to split the mega-council of Canterbury Bankstown, which was created in 2016 as part of the Baird government’s controversial policy to merge Sydney’s local councils.
On Monday, Major Khal Asfour said the preliminary findings of the rubbish review, prompted by the Herald’s story, showed general and recycled waste were mixed in narrow streets and laneways because the street size posed a safety risk to larger trucks.
It affected 700 of the region’s 400,000 bins each fortnight.
“The issue was the massive side loaders, they’re big trucks, they don’t fit down these roads, there’s safety issues for motorists, pedestrians,” he said. As a result, council had added extra, smaller trucks to its fleet that could fit more easily into narrow streets.
Residents of other councils also told the herald that they had caught rubbish collectors doing the same thing.
Tony Khoury, the executive director of the Waste Contractors and Recyclers Association of NSW, said councils were often forced into a situation in which they had to do bin collections in daylight hours due to complaints about noise overnight.