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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Semi-automated waste deposit system to be trialled in Cobargo

A new semi-automated household waste and recycling deposit system is soon to be trialled for eligible customers in the Bega Valley Shire’s north.

Councillors yesterday resolved to begin the trial following a decision in February to find an economically viable alternative to a rural bin bank collection service.

Waste Services Manager, Alan Gundrill said the decision to undertake a trial at the current Cobargo Waste and Recycling Drop-off Point will deliver a welcome service improvement for rural residents north of Brogo.

“This trial will move us a step closer to restoring a permanent waste and recycling solution for rural residents who lost their waste transfer station in the Black Summer bushfires,” Mr Gundrill said.

“A third of the shire’s bin banks were also destroyed in the bushfires which left Council and the community with an expensive and complicated problem to fix.

“Bin banks were once considered a waste collection option for customers living beyond the reach of our roadside collection service but their vulnerability to extreme events and high restoration costs left us searching for a better solution.”

Mr Gundrill said a temporary waste and recycling drop-off point at the former Cobargo waste transfer station site has been trialled since November 2021.

“While not ideal because of limited opening hours and relatively high net operating costs, the drop-off point has been popular with customers eligible to use the service,” Mr Gundrill said.

“Our proposal to improve this service through developing a minimally staffed and semi-automated deposit system at the same site generated a lot of interest at a community information session held last month.

“We shared community feedback with Councillors and we now have the go ahead to commence a two-year trial as soon as possible.

“The new service will use automated compacting machinery to safely and efficiently prepare household waste and recycling for transportation to landfill and recycling facilities.

“This technology will reduce staff presence at the site and allow us to offer extended opening hours.

“Our Waste Services team is working to get things happening as soon as possible. Steps ahead include drafting of a development application, working closely with the NSW Environmental Protection Authority, site remediation, sourcing of machinery and drafting a new fee structure.”

The new Cobargo deposit site will only accept household bin waste from customers north of Brogo who live beyond Council’s roadside waste collection service.

Large or commercial waste such as furniture, fencing wire and oils should be taken to the nearest waste transfer station in Bermagui, which opens seven days a week.

For more information please call Council’s Waste Services team on (02) 6499 2222.

Above: The trial will improve the current service with a semi-automated deposit system and extended opening hours.

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