Shrinking Our Bins

While sorting out paperwork for our solar panels, we needed to get a copy of our rates notice from our local council. They weren’t able to provide the actual rates notice on the day, but they were able to provide a costs summary. The following caught my eye:

Service Rates & Charges $525.70

For the mathematically inclined, this was almost 30% of our total charge from the council. I pondered this line, and realised that it was the cost of our wheelie bins. This comes in two parts:

  • $380.20 for a 120L rubbish and a 240 litre recycling bin service
  • $145.50 for an optional garden waste bin collection service (green waste)

We’ve used the garden waste bin once since we bought this house, and that was when we put it out the first weekend after we got the keys because it was still full from the previous owners. Since then we’ve been composting all of our garden waste at home. For anyone wondering if composting has a financial benefit, apparently it’s worth a whopping $145.50 per year!

Our current rubbish bin is usually half full on a bad week, and considerably less than that on a good one. Looking at the site, I noticed a second option for this:

  • $302.70 for an 80L rubbish and a 240 litre recycling bin service

By doing a trash audit and working through that process, tiny changes to our habits have the potential to save us an additional $77.50 per year if we downsize the bin. With the garden waste bin, that’s a combined saving of $223.00 per year, just for being conscious about the amount of waste we produce.

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Cancelling our garden waste bin and downsizing the rubbish bin was incredibly easy. I just emailed a request to the council and everything was taken care of for us, including the adjustment to our rates fees. All we needed to do was put out the bins on their regular collection day and the changes were made.

While my enthusiasm for doing this was distinctly financial, changing our day to day options like this holds us more accountable in the future for the amount of waste that we generate. It’s going to be harder to back slide when our bin has shrunk by 1/3, and our neighbours aren’t going to be able to use our empty bins to grow their own capacity for waste. This change also covers half of the annual repayments for a solar system loan, which makes it that much more achievable.

If you’re playing along at home…

…are you able to save a lot of money by making the decision to reduce your waste? What could you afford to do if you weren’t literally throwing your money into landfill? Please share in the comments below what your council offers as an alternative for people who are a bit more mindful about what they throw away.

2 thoughts on “Shrinking Our Bins

  1. Thanks for bringing this up – living with Mum I don’t see the rates notice, so I have no idea of costings. We’ve been cutting down our trash considerably, so opting for a smaller bin might be the way to go. How do you go disposing of larger green waste like tree pruning, etc? Does that compost well?

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    • Hi Robyn. We’ve taken down a few big tree branches that were growing through the power lines, and dealing with them has been a 3 step process. First, we put them in a pile for a few weeks until the leaves fell off, and these were used straight away as mulch for the garden. The smaller twigs we stripped from the branches and buried in a garden bed that needed a lot of infill. These will break down over time, which should feed the perennials planted there for several years. The larger pieces we’ve stacked in a pile for future projects. The only plants that we haven’t been able to dispose of this way or with regular composting we put out with hard rubbish. If that wouldn’t work, you can also take them down to the local tip to be composted there. Generally, we’ve only had to do that with things that would have been too big for the green waste bin anyway.

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