Green and organic waste
Green waste comes from our gardens and includes things such as grass clippings, tree prunings and dry leaves.
In the natural world, green waste is constantly recycled by bacteria, worms, beetles, termites, plants and fungi.
When this waste is recycled (or decomposed) nutrients are released and used by growing plants; when a plant (or an animal that eats plants) dies, the cycle starts again - this is known as the nutrient cycle.
Research shows that more than half of the waste produced in our homes is organic - mainly food and garden waste. Some people recreate the nutrient cycle using a compost bin or worm farm, however any green or other organic waste placed in a domestic wheelie bin goes to landfill. Although this waste will eventually decompose, it will not provide nutrients for plants but will produce greenhouse gases such as methane.
Greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere act like a blanket, forming a layer that prevents some heat from the sun escaping into space. Many scientists think that the increasing production of greenhouse gases is making the earth hotter - this is known as global warming.
Managing organic waste on the Gold Coast
City of Gold Coast has implemented a number of innovative strategies to reduce the volume of green waste going to landfill.
Garden waste - palm fronds, tree stumps and prunings - dropped off at City waste and recycling centres or collected via the optional green waste kerbside service are sometimes taken to Phoenix Power Recyclers for transformation into compost.
Phoenix Power Recyclers shreds the material and mixes it with biosolids, poultry manure, paper waste and grease trap waste. Once mixed it is formed into large composting piles called windrows. The windrows are turned to maintain oxygen levels and correct temperatures. Over time, through the action of bacteria and other organisms, the waste turns into a rich, dark brown compost material called humus. The City uses the humus on parks and gardens; it is also sold to nurseries and landscape gardeners.
Most of the green garden waste currently delivered to City facilities and collected kerbside is used to produce renewable energy. At Rocky Point Cogeneration Plant at Woongoolba, green waste is combined with waste sugar cane material, called bagasse. This mix fuels large boilers that produces steam which then turns a turbine generator that produces electrical energy. The Rocky Point Sugar Mill uses this energy during the harvesting season. At other times, householders buy the electricity through Energex's Earth's Choice program.
Every year Rocky Point produces enough electricity to power 18,000 homes and prevents 130,000 tonnes of greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere.
The Rocky Point Cogeneration Plant uses over 200,000 tonnes of organic waste every year, which would otherwise go to landfill.
Using green waste for energy is a responsible way to reduce the production of greenhouse gases that would otherwise come from non-renewable power generation and the production of landfill gases.
In the year 2008 to 2009, over 70,000 tonnes of green waste was diverted from City landfills and recycled or reused.
Dumping of garden waste
Illegal dumping of garden waste is an offence under the Waste Reduction and Recycling Act 2011.
Learn about the impacts of illegal dumping, how you can reduce and legally dispose of your green waste, and how you can report illegal dumping.
You might think that there is nothing wrong with dumping garden waste into bushland or waterways because the material is natural. Think again - dumping your garden waste harms the environment and impacts our community in a number of different ways, for example:
- contribute to increased fuel loads in bushland areas, making control of a bushfire more difficult for emergency services
- bring disease, pests and weeds into areas of native bush
- increase nutrient loads in our waterways, which can cause toxic algae blooms and fish deaths
- contribute to localised flooding by washing into stormwater drains and blocking pipes
- spread invasive weed species
- destroy the natural beauty of bushland and decrease its appeal
- attract more illegal dumping
- cost ratepayers and the City money to clean up and dispose of the dumped material appropriately
- serve as a breeding ground for rats and mice, creating vermin issues for neighbouring properties.
Apart from the obvious, i.e. not dumping garden waste over the back fence into bushland or near/in waterways, you can take a few simple steps to improve the health of our bushland and waterways by:
Green waste bin collection
Visit our Green waste bin collection page to find out how to order this service.
Report illegal dumping
Visit Report a problem - Graffiti, rubbish and illegal dumping to report illegal dumping online.
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