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Coast ratepayers may pay extra $34 for new waste service

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Sunshine Coast ratepayers would pay an extra $34 per year for a new opt-out food and garden waste collection service, a new report has revealed.

But a whopping 74 per cent of Sunshine Coast residents surveyed want the council to implement the service with 29 per cent of respondents indicating affordability is important.

The Sunshine Coast Council will consider a report at its meeting on Thursday to implement an opt-out kerbside garden organics collection service from July next year.

Under the opt-out approach, a lime green, lidded garden organics bin will be provided to all residential properties across the region unless they are eligible to opt-out based on yet to be developed exemption criteria.

It will cost ratepayers an extra $34.58 to use the service under the proposed plan based on an uptake of 80,000 properties.

About 37,000 properties across the Sunshine Coast currently have an opt-in garden organics collection service. That service costs ratepayers who opt-in an additional $62.10 per year.

Replacing the current opt-in garden organic bin service with an expanded opt-out option will reduce the cost by about $27.52 per year.

It is also estimated that when the opt-out organics service moves to a region wide food and waste organics service by 2025, costs will be further reduced by about $5.98 for each ratepayer.

A series of workshops and a survey of 7500 residents were held earlier this year to gauge community interest in the service.

The report notes this is among the highest number of responses the council has ever received for a community consultation process and therefore the results can be considered highly representative of the community.

The survey found:

84% of respondents agreed it is very important that the council provide a service to reduce organic waste in landfill and convert recovered organic material to useful by-products

74% of respondents support the council implementing an opt-out garden waste bin to eligible households

83% of respondents support Council implementing food organics and garden organics waste services

29% of respondents indicated that affordability of improving organics diversion is important

24% respondents said the cost of FOGO was necessary and worth it to tackle climate issues and reduce waste to landfill

The Queensland Waste Management and Resource Recovery Strategy released in 2019 set a target to divert 65 per cent of waste from landfill by 2025. In 2019-20 financial year, the council diverted 37 per cent of its total waste stream from landfill.

Councillors will consider the project at its meeting on Thursday, July 22.