WHILE admitting to some teething problems, Kiama Council has hailed its GO Organic trial a success.
Starting last November, the Australian-first GO Organics Program - Kitchen to Compost Revolution, will be trialled during a 12-month period in 917 homes west of Riverside Drive, Kiama Downs (zone 5).
While there is a way to go, a report to council after six weeks of operation said it had met and exceeded expectations.
Households in the trial area are now being asked to place their food waste (all organic material including vegetable, meat and seafood scraps) into the green-lidded bin (to be collected weekly). The yellow-lidded recycling bin (paper, glass, metal as usual) is also being collected weekly and the red-lidded landfill bin is being serviced fortnightly.
The composted material is being held at Minnamurra waste depot. The first load of compost to be used on the municipality's parks and reserves will be ready in mid-February.
The council's waste management officer Josephine St John said a total of 82 per cent of material received had been recycled (waste from green and yellow-lid bins) leaving just 18 per cent to go to landfill.
Ms St John said for the same period last year a total of 65.4 per cent of material received was recycled and 34.6 per cent was landfilled.
Ms St John said an active community education program was partly responsible for the success but conceded that the system required a change in behaviour.
"It is a change of behaviour and that has been the hardest thing," she said. "But residents do get it and we are very happy."
She said the main issue had been contamination of organic material with plastic bags. She said their advice was for people to wrap food in newspaper.
She said while compostable bags were allowed, they had to meet Australian standards and that the cost of council providing them would defeat the purpose of the program.
Ms St John said the program had saved 17.26 tonnes - equating to $4608.47 - in landfill disposal costs.