Kiama Council has won the Local Government NSW Community Waste Services Award for its OK Organics Kiama service.
Waste Management Officer, Josephine St John, said the award, for populations up to 30,000 people, proved smaller councils could deliver outstanding services.
“We’re really proud of the OK Organics Kiama service and are thrilled with how the community has taken it up,” Ms St John said.
“This award shows how innovative smaller councils, like Kiama, can be.”
Ms St John said OK Organics Kiama resulted from Kiama losing its last landfill site in 2006.
“For many years we had the significant expense of paying other councils to use their landfill sites, which forced us to look at ways to reduce our waste,” she said.
“We were recycling around 60 per cent of waste, but we needed to get that rate higher. We started by diverting food and garden organics using our green bins.
“We also made the organics and recycling a weekly service, while reducing the red garbage bins to a fortnightly service.
“We rolled out the service in stages to allow us to properly work with residents to help them understand and adapt to the new service.”
Ms St John said the success of the new service was largely due to a strong emphasis on community engagement.
“Staff went ‘door-to-door’ to deliver kitchen caddies and information on how to use them, and held community information sessions and shop front information kiosks,” she said.
“We also gave our lucky staff the job of checking bins to see how residents were handling the changes and provide help where needed.
“I’m proud to say our residents have strongly embraced OK Organics Kiama and we are now recycling or composting more than 75 per cent.
“This represents a 40 per cent decrease in waste to landfill.”
Mayor Mark Honey has congratulated the waste management team on their award.
“The success of OK Organics Kiama is due to the excellent planning and implementation by our waste management staff, as well as their tireless efforts every day to make it a success,” he said.
“Residents should take a great deal of credit in being so willing to adapt to a new way of managing their waste.”
The NSW Government provided A Waste Less, Recycle More Organics Collection Systems grant that allowed the OK Organics Kiama service to be established.
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