Mayor defends new bin collection system despite 'teething issues'

Residents have labelled the rollout of their new bins 'rushed' but their mayor says the council did 'everything' they could to inform people.

The mayor at the centre of a new bin system rollout that locals have branded "rushed" and "poorly communicated" says he has no intention of scrapping the new collection schedule.

In its third week, Sydney's Inner West locals have been left with rubbish, including nappies festering in the hot sun, after weekly rubbish pick-ups were moved to fortnightly with the introduction of FOGO (food organics and garden organics) bins.

Fed-up members of the community have come out in droves to slam the rollout they claim has been flawed with so many "mixed messages" causing confusion.

Mayor Darcy Byrne admitted to Yahoo News Australia that there had been "teething issues" but claims the council had done "everything" they could to "inform people in advance".

"I'd vehemently resist any attempt to roll it back," he said.

Left image is of kitchen caddy ins left out on the side of the road next to the big bins. Right image is of Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne holding a kitchen bin caddy.
Mayor of the Inner West Darcy Byrne has spoken out over the controversial move to FOGO bins. Source: Facebook

Local's feeling frustrated and confused

Hundreds of community members have been sharing their annoyance online, with almost all citing that communication during the roll-out has been their main issue — with confusion over collection days causing festering rubbish left uncollected on the streets.

"Roll out across Inner West was poorly communicated. In our street there was mixed messages re garbage collection days and what coloured bins are collected," one person has said.

"What a shame council has stuffed up a potential legacy-building move like this one so royally," another said.

In the first week there were a "huge number of calls" from people seeking guidance on the new process, with Byrne saying this is something they knew was going to happen.

"The reality is, behavioural change is hard, no matter how much communication," he shared.

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Assistance available but many unaware

Several services are available to help the community get used to their new bin system, but there are still many who don't know that these resources exist.

One service that is extremely important for families with kids to know about is the free additional pick-ups that can be requested for off weeks.

Local father of young twins, Peter Wynne, was not aware of this option and spoke out about how the fortnightly shift has made disposing of nappies really difficult and "unhygienic".

"We have twin babies so what are we to do with all the dirty nappies? Leave them in the bin for 2 weeks? I don't think so," he recently said to Yahoo.

Byrne has explained that people can request additional pick-ups of their landfill bins in "the off weeks" with no charge, for as long as they need.

"We won't pull that [option] away," he said.

Total requests for additional landfill bin pick-ups is so far only at 829, with many residents not requesting the service due to lack of awareness.

Mayor of the Inner West, Darcy Byrne (Left). Each household in the area has been given a FOGO kitchen caddy by the council (Right). Source: Supplied / Facebook
Mayor of the Inner West Darcy Byrne (Left). Each household in the area has been given a FOGO kitchen caddy by the council (Right). Source: Supplied / Facebook

Some reports of incorrect collection dates online

Some people have reported their online waste calendar hasn't matched with the actual pick up dates or the stickers left on their bins.

One woman recently shared that for her, the times on the council website is different to the times on the notes left on the bins. Due to this, she is putting her bin out "every Wednesday and Thursday night from now on" until she can figure out when her pick up is meant to be.

Yahoo News understands a system glitch is to blame for the wrong dates, but when pressed on the matter Byrne said there were "teething problems" but that it's "working well".

Mayor says its getting better despite feedback

The number of calls for help has reduced and the amount of people putting their bin out on the wrong day has dropped significantly from 70% first week to 20% as of this week, Byrne said.

"We have had huge support," he said. "The Inner West taking action against climate change is the single most important thing we can do".

When asked about the feedback from some councillors who have called out the council for it's "rough" start to this new system, Byrne has said their attempt to "undermine the rollout" is "disappointing".

"It was voted for unanimously," he said. "Throwing rocks from the sidelines is unhelpful".

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