'My mind is blown': Residents divided by council's 'invasive' bin strategy

A Queensland council’s new initiative to tackle recycling contamination is divisive at best with locals having an array of opinions about the council rummaging through their garbage.

Noosa Shire Council announced the bin audit which rolled out on October 31 at Noosa Head, Noosaville and Castaway beach as a six-week trial to see if bin contamination could improve.

Auditors would be looking into garden waste bins and recycle bins in several areas within the shire.

While some people have welcomed the initiative, some people were less enthusiastic – saying it was a waste of ratepayers’ money and an invasion of privacy.

Sunshine Beach resident Geoff Stirzaker said the bin audit was a waste of money, but didn’t think anyone should really mind if the government snoops through your trash.

Noosa Council has implemented a controversial trial to crack down on bin contamination. Source: AAP Image/Tracey Nearmy.

“I think a bin audit is a bit of a waste of ratepayers’ money,” he told Yahoo News Australia.

“I don't think anyone will mind too much that someone is pilfering through their garbage, unless they have something to keep secret in their bin.”

“Breach of privacy right there,” someone commented on social media.

“My mind is blown!”

Another Noosa resident Andy Fitzsimon is in favour of the new audit.

“Employing someone to check bins are right for recycling before they are emptied into a truck is a great community education initiative; the service links great with the environmental focus of Noosa,” Mr Fitzsimon told Yahoo News Australia.

“Members of the community — particularly those who live alone, aren't always up to date with the rules on what counts as recyclable material.

“More mindshare on best practices equals a better result for Noosa.”

Mr Stirzaker compared the bin auditors to bin chickens.

“‘I rummaged through residents trash bins looking for things that should or should not be in there,’” Mr Stirzaker said on how he believes a bin auditor would describe their job.

“‘I was pretty much paid to be a bin chicken in high vis clothing.’”

Bin auditors are leaving stickers on bins which don't quite meet the council's standards in hope of residents improving their recycling. Source: 7 News.

Soft plastic not recycled correctly says Noosa Council

The target of the audit was soft plastics, according to Noosa Council, who said some residents are bagging their recyclables before putting them in the yellow-top bin.

“If it is plastic and you can scrunch it up then it can’t go in the yellow-top recycling bin, but you can take it to the Redcycle bin at Coles or Woolworths,” Noosa Council’s Waste & Sustainability Education Officer Emma Menzies said in a media statement.

The council has utilised a sticker system which alerts people if their bin is contaminated or not, saying it is council’s goal to reduce waste to landfill. The council said its focus during the current audit is on garden waste and recycling bins.

Just last week, similar opinions emerged from residents when Moreland City Council in Melbourne’s north started inspecting bins.

Many people pointed out although people take the time to seperate recyclables, often it all ends up in landfill.

“I work in the plastic industry in Melbourne and can tell you that very little plastic gets recycled because of contamination and resources,” one person who claimed to be an industry employee said on Reddit when someone shared a photo of the sad-faced emoji warning left by the council on their bin.

“And that’s on a[n] industrial level. So when it comes to your recycling bin that just goes to landfill now that China has stop[ped] taking plastic.”

The council however did say the plastic found in recycling bin does go to recycling centres.

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