THE City of Greater Bendigo is lining up recycling bins for more frequent collection than garbage despite the current preferences of Bendigo residents.

The council believes residents are not yet ready for garbage to be picked up fortnightly even though only a third of 4000 respondents to a survey said they were filling their garbage bin every week.

Conversely, 70 per cent of respondents said they filled their recycling bin every fortnight and sometimes put the overflow in the garbage bin.

But it is likely recyclables will be a weekly collection and garbage fortnightly, some time in the future, according to council resource recovery and education manager Brooke Pearce.

“I don’t have a timeframe, it depends on how much involvement we get,” Ms Pearce said.

“We will gauge how comfortable residents are with that change.”

In the meantime, council will attempt to steer change through the hip pocket and with education.

Residents pay by volume for collection of garbage and so can save more than $100 a year by opting for the smallest bin.

However, the charge for recyclables is the same regardless of bin size, and more than 90 per cent of residents are using the second largest 240-litre bin.

Ms Pearce said the council would attempt to encourage residents to move to the bigger 360-litre bin.

Another way to avoid overflow recyclable waste into garbage was to provide drop off points for that material.

And the council educates by conducting random bin audits at collection, a practice that has drawn criticism in Melbourne for contravention of privacy.

In Bendigo, non-compliance means the householder will receive a letter explaining where they went wrong.

“The city respects the privacy of the community and the audit is a visual inspection only,” Ms Pearce said.

“On average we audit about 100 bins per week.

“Sometimes an area is audited because our truck drivers have noticed contamination in the bins as they are emptied into the trucks.”

She said the ideal environmental and financial waste management scenario for Bendigo was to collect recyclable waste more often the garbage.

But asked if there could be only one bin collected a week, 54 per cent of respondents voted for garbage to be picked up, a response Ms Pearce said was cultural.

“I think it is just a cultural issue where people have the ability to dispose of items that are smelly or that can’t sit around for a two-week period,” she said.

– Sharon Kemp