iwr / WasteLess


Use a scale built into a garbage truck to measure the net weight of residual and organic waste bins (both 140 L by default, 240 L optionally at no extra fixed cost), which are collected weekly by default or optionally fortnightly. Note that residual waste may also be known as general waste, which is typically sent to landfill in Australia. Charge the rate payer on a per kg basis for this waste (e.g. 60 c/kg AUD and 20 c/kg, respectively), with an optional free service of 9 recyclable fractions in 100 L sacks, collected monthly or bimonthly. Fixed costs of equipment and collection would ideally be subsidized by federal or state funding and thus by taxes in order to deliver public benefits. However, where such subsidization is not provided, fixes fees, e.g. per pickup or per annum, may be necessary, but would increase the amount of residual waste if the price per kg is reduced. Such a scheme has been demonstrated successfully in Bjuv, Sweden, with similar weight-based pricing schemes in Denmark, Germany and Ireland. Other improvements include:


This document is intended for the general public, in order to garner support for the proposal via this petition, and trial it with a local council. The above sentence gives the general gist of this proposal, so it is not really necessary to read the rest of it, which just adds more improvements, information, and considerations/handling of some concerns. Given the scheme has already been successful in Sweden, it should be fairly easy to see the value of the proposal and sign the petition. The details below are more intended for councils and those who may be involved with implementing the scheme.



Weight-based schemes have been implemented successfully in Denmark, Sweden and Germany in tandem with multiple fractions of waste collection streams. Incentivizing Waste Reduction (IWR) / WasteLess proposes to extend such schemes to more local councils, with an initial focus on councils in the Greater Sydney metropolitan region, Australia. The scheme involves using a scale to measure the net weight of a general waste bin, and charge the bin’s rate payer on a per kg basis for this waste, in order to incentivize waste reduction, with some other improvements and considerations. Benefits include fairer pricing of waste, and when likely reducing waste substantially due to incentivization, benefits extend to less landfill (the proposal could even be extended to the public being incentivized to remove waste from landfill), reduced greenhouse emissions (particularly from methane), reuse/recycling of resources (which is particularly important for non-renewable resources), and a more sustainable society. The scale can be mounted in a garbage truck, or a portable one could be used e.g. with garbage loader crews. The latter method would be better suited for rear and front loaders rather than automated side loaders) and would be less efficient, less capital-intensive, and more labour-intensive, but may be worth considering for developing countries. Bins could be locked to prevent dumping in others’ bins, and unlocked efficiently with Bluetooth technology. Cryptographic database systems like Holochain could be used for transparency, auditability, scalability, security, etc., while the data could also be used (after being anonymised and aggregated) to get insights into trends of waste with location and demographics, which could in turn be useful e.g. for more targeted education programs to reduce waste. The technology works best in tandem with multiple specialized waste collection bins, such as for recycling, organics, and recyclable soft plastics such as those found in Redcycle bins. To prevent illegal dumping and putting waste into the wrong bins (e.g. putting non-biodegradable plastic bags into an organics bin), bins could be made transparent, and the scheme would work better with other initiatives such as monitoring, reporting and cleanup technology like CleanApp, as well as re-investing some of the funds generated from the scheme into cleaning up illegally dumped waste. Compassionate treatment of financially disadvantaged people is needed to ensure that they are not worse off with this scheme, such as ratepayer government assistance, coupled with other assistance to help them that is beyond the scope of this proposal.

Please sign this petition if you support this proposal. The petition is needed to show public support exists for the proposal, in order for councils to commit to trialing it, or investing in a full community consultation. Post an issue or message me via https://about.me/james.ray if you think it has issues or can be improved, tear it apart!

The following is modified from the Blockchain Trust Accelerator Initiative Pilot Submission on Feb 22 2019. I have decided to keep the overall structure, as it frames the proposal well. The seed idea was first expressed here on Twitter, however the below information should be more detailed.

The Problem / Challenge:

In this section, please be prepared to explain what specific challenges you wish to address.

What type of social or governance challenge are you addressing? *

Are there specific aspects of the problem that you want to see addressed? *

My idea involves addressing the problem of incentivizing waste reduction, i.e. addressing a lack of sufficient incentives for reducing waste.

Is this problem currently being addressed? If so, in what ways and to what degree of success? *

I don’t think it is being addressed well because councils generally charge a flat rate for collection. Some councils provide options of different bin sizes, but still charge a flat rate per week in proportion to the bin’s capacity.

The problem has been addressed in rural municipalities in Denmark, in cities in Germany, and in Sweden [1].


A weight-based kerbside collection scheme as used in Danish municipalities would work best for single-unit dwellings, while refer to the German projects in cities below for multiple-unit dwellings.

In Denmark, residents may request an electronic lock for their bin, but few have been requested [1, p. 16]. However, if this scheme was implemented in metropolitan areas, more locks may be requested.

Denmark has a fixed and variable portions for their scheme. “However, the fee varies from 594–1,066 DKK [127–229 AUD] per household per year [this appears to be referring to the fixed fee, since the fixed fee in the Bogense municipality is 1,063 DKK per household per year] between the municipalities, depending on the service level in general, the quantity of waste effectively covered by the fixed element of the overall fee, and the fee for the waste exceeding the fixed waste quantity. In the municipality of Bogense the fee for waste collection consists of a fixed yearly fee and a variable weight-based fee… The fixed fee for households covers 5 kg waste per collection… The variable, weight-dependent fee is paid per kg waste (i.e. residual and organic waste) above the 5 kg figure.” [1, p. 16 ] The variable fee in Bogense, 2000, is 3.75 DKK per kg organic/residual waste (this applies to waste over the 5 kg limit). [1, p. 16 ] The study compared two Danish municipalities, Bogense and Oelstykke, with and without the weight-based scheme, respectively, found that Bogense was cheaper, even with a four-person household, but noting that the fee in Oelstykke is above average for Danish municipalities, and also noting that “The municipality of Bogense uses e.g. approximately 960 hours per year for administration compared to approximately 860 hours per year in the municipality of Oelstykke.”

The study found that the weight-based scheme reduced waste: “On average, the amount of waste collected in municipalities with weight-based schemes is 359 kg less per household compared to municipalities withoutweight-based schemes. Taking composting in private gardens into account,the difference is estimated as 279 kg per household.” [1, p. 18 ]

Furthermore: “A significant increase in the amount of paper and cardboard collected has been registered compared to municipalities without this scheme. However, the amount of glass collected is almost similar.” [1, p. 18 ] The finding on glass may be because glass has to be “taken to central containers… or to the municipal recycling station”, in Bogense, an inconvenience. [1, p. 15 ] This may be because glass tends to reduce the economic viability of waste collection [2].

The study also noted a higher degree of home composting was likely, economic benefits for sorting/recycling, and disadvantages including dumping, burning of waste (which may have health impacts), no solidarity to households with high amounts of waste e.g. families with babies, and heavy administration [1, p. 19–21 ]. As noted elsewhere in this proposal, potential resolutions for dumping including monitoring with CleanApp and funding from fines, the scheme and/or tax, although the study notes that the dumping “was especially a problem in the beginning when the scheme was introduced, and in some of the municipalities, the dumping of waste at lay-bys has fallen back to the initial level” [1, p. 21 ]. Burning of waste is difficult to negate, because it can be done privately in one’s own home, but education about the impacts on air quality, the environment, and health would help to reduce this. Administration can be reduced through the use of IT, as discussed elsewhere in this proposal, or if necessary funded through the scheme (which is cheaper than the traditional one). The study also noted that families with babies can use reusuable diapers, and this alternative can be promoted [1, p. 21 ].

The study noted that the scheme should only be implemented in municipalities where the environmental consciousness/ duty/stewardship is relatively high, otherwise it would be more economical to first concentrate on “information campaigns where the citizens are given instructions on sorting and recycling of waste (with weight-based schemes introduced subsequently)” [1, p. 22 ]. At any rate, it may be best practice to have at least an information campaign, before implementing a scheme in a municipality, regardless of how well environmentally- dutiful citizens may be.

Germany: Weight and volume-based systems at apartment blocks

The study notes various problems for a weight-based system for multiple-unit dwellings, including where tenants reside [1, p. 23 ]. It examines the results of an Identify, Press, Weight (IPW) Centre [1, p. 23–26 ] and a simple mechanical lock gate system, using a chip card [1, p. 26–29 ] (a tap and pay card would be more efficient, but note the fraud concerns outlined below—CTRL+F “debit card”, which should nevertheless be manageable by not using debit cards.)


Since the year 2000, the Swedish munipality of Bjuv, consisting of single- and multiple-unit residences, has had 11 fractions for waste with a weight-based scheme: “kerbside collection of residual waste, organic waste, newspapers, 6 fractions of packaging waste (cardboard, hard and soft plastics, coloured and uncoloured glass, metals), and an option for kerbside collection of garden waste” [1, p. 43 or 54 of 143 in the PDF) ]. Variables fees apply for residual and organic waste (3.65 SEK/kg and 1.2 SEK/kg, or ~0.56 AUD/kg and ~0.18 AUD/kg, respectively, ignoring inflation and forex fluctations), plus a fixed fee for residual waste (560 SEK/annum, ~86 AUD/a).

“An on-vehicle weighing system is used. Containers are tagged with an intelligent chip (to avoid switching, voluntary or involuntary, between neighbours) and weighed both before and after emptying. The difference in weight is the basis for the charge to the household… This change led to the cost for the waste collection system almost doubling.” [1, p. 44 ]. in this proposal, to measure the weight of the bin after emptying it, and deduct the weight of a bin to obtain the net weight.

Collection intervals are every week or fortnight for residual waste and compostable waste; 12 times/annum for newspaper, cardboard, and hard plastics; and 6 times/a for coloured and uncoloured glass, and soft plastics. 140 L bins are provided for residual waste, with a 240 L bin available at no extra fixed cost, and a 140 L container for compostable waste.

Dramatic improvements resulted in Bjuv from this scheme: in the first two years, the total waste was reduced by 30%, residual waste reduced by more than 70%, and recycled fractions increased by 130%. [1, p. 44–45] There was no observable increase in litter. 62 tonnes of dumped waste was collected in 2001, compared to total waste in the municipality of 3 kilotonnes (p. 46). The implementation for apartment blocks was no more difficult than for detached houses, but this may be different for urban areas.

As noted on this page, it had been difficult to balance the budget, since residual waste (which provides most of the revenue) was reduced more than expected, but this can be offset by a higher fixed fee, which was subsequently planned, while also reducing the variable fee, which was also also planned.

The study noted that if replicating the scheme in Bjuv, costs would rise considerably, especially if there are not as many alternative collection fractions as in Bjuv (the cost of the equipment doubled in Bjuv).


Some notes / key findings on 3: “The study concluded that weight-based charges are the single most effective PBU system in terms of waste prevention, waste recycling and diversion of waste from landfill. These charges prompted the highest per household recycling levels (between 27% and 32%), highest diversion rates from landfill (between 28% and 35%) and the lowest total kerbside waste figures (between 800kg and 947kg per annum). The study projected that if the estimated 80% of those households across Ireland currently on pay per lift / tags and differential bin systems switched to ‘per kg’ based PBU system, it could lead to an annual diversion from landfill of approximately 446,000 tonnes of domestic waste per annum.”—p. 6

Annual charges and per-lift charges are important to account for the cost of transport and labour. P. 10 highlights the importance of a federally-led scheme, even if it is initially in a trial area, e.g. for preparing national legislation, strategy, coordination, education; as well as the responsibilities of the other organisations involved. It’s best to read the paper directly.

The use of permits with the same conditions for private waste collectors ensure that “there was no competitive advantage for operators operatingin areas with less onerous requirements” (p. 11). However, waste collection in Ireland is financed mainly by the private sector, while in Australia it is financed by councils, with some subcontracting to private waste collectors (p. 11).

A regulatory impact assessment undertaken by the DoECLG recognised the cost to industry in moving over to a pay by weight system, but, on the basis of the findings of the STRIVE research Study, asserted that “A transition to weight based charging on a national basis could be achieved relatively cheaply, in view of the potential benefits.” The exact investment costs, running costs and savings are not available as this information is commercially sensitive.

From the lessons learnt on p. 15, householders being able to switch between collectors that have lower weight-based fees was a countermeasure against actually reducing their waste, but this isn’t really applicable in an Australian residential context; as is the case for other problems with multiple collectors being available to households.


Quotes from 4

The key barrier is weighing technology on trucks that can meet the exacting standards of the National Measurement Institute (NMI), which is the regulator of weighing systems. All weight based transactions in Australia must be made on scales which have been “Approved for Trade” by NMI… Tony Khoury summarised the practical limitations of some weighing systems and commented that the systems needed to work consistently and robustly. It is no good if the systems do not work on wet days, sloping ground etc. It would do nothing to prevent overflowing bins or litter…

See also 5.

Other remarks

Weight-based charging for residual and compostable has been found to have some elasticity 6. While higher fixed fees and lower weight-based fees may help to recover costs of equipment and collection, waste would increase proportionally with lower weight-based fees. Therefore, subsidizing the cost of waste collection services, e.g. via taxes, may be desirable for public benefits. However, where there is insufficient for political will to achieve this, having a standing charge / fixed fee to cover the cost of transport, lift and equipment may be the next most preferable option.

The Solution and Technology

In this section, please be prepared to explain your pilot proposal in depth.

We will need to understand how your idea seeks to incorporate blockchain technology to solve the problem(s) you described above.

Describe your solution. How can blockchain technology address the problem? *

Charge rate payers for the amount of mass that they add to general waste bins, e.g. by having a weight machine built-in to garbage trucks, and/or into each general waste bin, or measured by a portable scale used by garbage collection staff (this would work for rear-loaders or front-loaders, but would be more labour intensive than the other two options). A scale in each bin would be more expensive but scales aren’t expensive, and would allow for bin users to verify that the amounts measured and recorded on their accounts are correct, like with water and electricity meters.

Which leads to other interesting ideas such as waste trading and markets for waste (like with energy trading and markets projects like Grid+ and Power Ledger). Got a full bin? No worries, just ask a neighbour in person or via the dapp to use their bin, and pay them for it.

Scalable, distributed app frameworks like Holochain could be used to make the data transparent and the app scalable and decentralised.

If there are dedicated bins for recycling (even for particular recyclable materials like bins for glass, paper and cardboard, metals, soft plastics and hard plastics), garden waste, and food waste (which there should be, and this program should ideally only be implemented with these), then there is no charge for using these. That way, people are not only incentivized to reduce waste but it is more convenient to do so and divert it to recycle or convert to other useful materials/products. For instance, people in high-rise units don’t have to use a worm farm or bokashi bin to handle organic waste, or use a compost bin in houses or boutique apartments. Ideally, soft plastics that are recyclable in Redcycle bins would also be collected in kerbside bins, since this would result in more soft plastics being recycled, due to convenience. (I recycle soft plastics in Redcycle bins, but not everyone knows about them, or can’t be bothered to use them.) Note that rewarding users for these bins would incentivize excess consumption, or collecting biomass from forest to put in their own green waste bin, both of which would be perverse behaviours and outcomes. Others benefit from the resources collected in these bins, so any cost to use these bins, if any, should be discounted to account for such external benefits.

However, it should be noted that this technology, if not used with all the above bins and collections of each of them, would add pressure on councils to do so, since ratepayers would be more incentivized to reduce waste, and thus pressure/lobby councils to invest in bins and collecting for recycling, garden waste and organics (which can be collected together, although collecting garden waste has been done more), soft recyclable plastics as is done with Redcycle but not kerbside recycling, e-waste, etc., or other technologies. While this may be an inconvenient consequence for potential clients of this technology, councils, it would be a good outcome for the environment and ratepayers’ pockets. Additionally, given that China is not accepting some post-consumer recycled materials, there is an extra burden on councils from a local to federal level to manage waste.

The truck follows a route, and so can log the address of the house for each new bin unloaded into the truck, with the additional weight measured. Coordinates of the truck via GPS and mobile data and the timestamp at the time of loading a bin can also be used as an extra verification. The accuracy of the weight machine should probably be no more than 1 gram. Using Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) to store this data has benefits including transparency, auditability, censorship-resistance, and better scalability to different councils worldwide. Making the DLT Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) has benefits including auditability and better ability to improve it or adapt it for other projects.

The project can be adapted for stationary public bins, etc., by having an interface that involves needing to pay to use the bin, but this would be more complex, and would need to be not much more inconvenient than putting waste in a bin. E.g. put it on a weight balance externally on the bin, tap a card to pay, put it in the bin. Even this would probably be too inconvenient, however.

People who waste less, pay less, and people who waste more are incentivized to waste less, or the funds collected can be spent on better waste management technology and outreach/education/raising of awareness.

As described below, bins should be locked to prevent dumping in others bins, and should be unlocked by trucks and users with Bluetooth technology for efficiency.

Who are the actors involved/who is impacted by this pilot? *

Everyone that puts waste in bins and is involved with waste, or affected by it, which is really everyone and everything on this Earth.

How many people would your solution be helping? *

Again, all biota. This is due to the far-reaching impacts of reducing greenhouse gases such as methane, as well as reducing resource depletion (e.g. petrochemically-derived products and associated greenhouse gas emissions). While other effects can be more local, such as leaching of chemicals into the land, water, and air (note that of the air, this is particularly due to the incineration of plastics), they can also still have far-reaching impacts. Also, once waste enters oceans (outside of EEZs), due to oceans being a public commons, management of such waste becomes a global problem.

Another benefit is that the data collected could have broader uses and help to understand waste trends by area, etc. Users should have their data anonymised and aggregated by default, unless they wish to opt out of doing so. Holochain and other blockchains provide the ability to have anonymous accounts, although it is possible for governments to identify accounts e.g. due to KYC of exchanges, and tracing transactions. Nevertheless, this possibility should not be a concern for this particular use case, since users will need to specify an account to debit from, and KYC would be needed to prevent fraud, etc. Initially, it may be simpler to trial with a simple centralized council-controlled database.

What steps have you taken to validate the idea/market? *

See e.g. here.

How complex will the application need to be for successful functionality? *

An app for bin users would show the amounts debited with each collection and the mass measured of the collected waste, as well as charts per month, year, and total. Councils could still send an invoice as per usual. Bin users could have a blockchain account for debits, but this could be opt-in. The currency for the transactions should probably be the local fiat currency, represented by a synthetic digital token pegged to the said currency.

What challenges do you anticipate encountering were this pilot to be implemented? How can they be mitigated? *

I’m not sure if there needs to be an app for end-users. Councils could still send an invoice. Bin users could have a blockchain account for debits, but this could be opt-in.

People could dump waste into neighbours bins, or any bin other than their own, or anywhere else other than their own bin. To prevent dumping into other bins, bins should have a lock on them. However, bins would then need to be unlocked when collecting. There might be ways to automate this, such as using RFID cards, but they add complexity, costs, and would still take longer than the traditional collection procedure. Using a master RFID card with the truck would also be a security concern. Another option is to use Bluetooth technology, where the truck has the ability to quickly unlock a bin when it comes in range. If this solution was developed and worked, it would be quick, secure for bins. There would still be an attack vector by hacking the technology and using it in another device, or using the truck or device on it, but if the solution can be fast enough to not add any noticeable lag to collection times, then the overall technology seems to be worth sufficient merit to trial.

An alternative is to use CleanApp, CCTVs, neighbourhood watch, police, etc., to monitor and report on suspicious activity with dumping in bins. Notably, these measures would be needed for dumping that is not in bins.

Care needs to be taken that financially disadvantaged people are not worse off with this scheme, and government assistance can be increased if needed.

Who’s going to pay for the waste in rental properties, including share houses? The ratepayer pays, but in share houses, there is a similar problem of who pays for utility bills like electricity, water, telecoms, and gas. A tenant is even incentivized to reduce the waste of a shared household and that is produced by flatmates. They may do this anyway without this scheme, but may get tired of doing so, particularly without an incentive. Landlords may also sublet rooms, and while this is less common than leasing a whole dwelling, in this arrangement it is common for landlords to roll the cost of utilities into the rent, and it can be expected that they will typically add a higher amount to the rent than what is paid in bills, e.g. to account for risk.

Nevertheless, paying-by-weight seems fairer than a flat rate. Dealing with the problem of not further disadvantaging people facing financial hardships is a more systemic issue, and can be handled with more government assistance as needed.

What if councils decide to still charge a flat rate, in order to be able to fund expenses of waste collection? This is analogous to flat rates and c/kWh rates in the electricity market. This should be less likely to occur, since they are a government, not a for-profit business, and worst-case can cover the cost via rates. Note that if people don’t put their general waste bin out every week, which wouldn’t have a problem with smelliness, etc., if they don’t put organics in it, then the garbage truck doesn’t have to stop to pick it up, saving time and costs.

It would be more complicated, and not really worth the additional complexity, to charge when a user unlocks the bin and adds waste. Such a method would probably require a screen, human interface and computer on and in the bin. It also isn’t suitable for shared households such as families and share housing, where people typically put waste into a bin inside, then take it out every night or when it gets full. Charging the person who puts the waste out would be unfair, and organizing a roster of who puts the bins out would be inconvenient. While more complicated, a user who takes waste out of the bin could receive a credit for doing so, although they could then just dump the waste elsewhere, rather than sort it to put recyclables in the recycling bin, etc. This would be a perverse outcome. This method could be used for public bins, but is inconvenient, and could also disincentivize using them and increase litter, which would again not be ideal. So it would probably be better to continue using public bins as accessible without a charge.

Another problem is that people could put waste in the ‘free’, or lower-cost bins (e.g. recycling). There could be a fine to discourage this behaviour, together with transparent recycling bins, use of reporting such as via CleanApp or even from the garbage truck crew themselves (which would be possible with transparent bins, since a one-person crew (the driver) as with a side loader can see it without even needing to get out of the vehicle.

Waste such as soft plastics (the kinds that can be put in Redcycle bins, like plastic bags, packaging, and low-density polyethylene) are problematic since they are light, and so a charge by mass would not incentivize proper management of this waste. While having dedicated kerbside bins for soft plastic recycling would certainly help, there are still people (I know from personal experience with living in boarding houses) who will see a bin and put anything in it, regardless of the colour of the lid! Thus the above transparent bins, reporting, warnings, education (talk with them, give them a pamphlet, etc.) and fines would help to deal with this problem. Additionally, fines for putting soft plastics in general waste bins is probably extreme. They would need to be not a large amount if done at all, although if too small or there’s no fine there’s no incentive to change behaviour. Again, I want to point out that financially disadvantaged people should be treated compassionately in these cases.

If data is not automatically collected during collection, and is instead manually entered e.g. by the driver, that would be less efficient, and also be a potential source of corruption. Residents could bribe the driver to not enter the data, or enter a lower weight. Hence, automating the data entry of masses collected with the address and account is needed.

It would be an extra inconvenience to grab a Bluetooth chip when you want to unlock your bin, but not too much, e.g. if it’s attached to a keyring, which you could grab on a key-rack by the front door on your way out, then it could automatically unlock and open as you walk up to it. A bin user could also leave it unlocked, then if someone dumps a lot of stuff in it you may want to lock it thereafter.

One person gave feedback that he lived in an apartment of four units and two bins, so each bin was shared between two units. While this is probably an edge case, you would probably want to have four bins for each unit, unless you were happy to split the cost with the person you share with. As mentioned, having a scale in the bin and charging when you put stuff in would be more inconvenient, but maybe not too much with tapping a credit/debit card. However, using a card would pose a security/fraud risk, and is particularly vulnerable for debit card theft since bins are usually unattended.

To what extent does your idea have the potential to be scaled? *

Theoretically it can scale worldwide, wherever waste is generated and collected, provided that there is support from local citizens and councils, funding, tech, etc.


In this section, please elaborate on the state of your resources.

What resources have already been dedicated to the project? *

I, James Ray, have been working on this project since Thursday 21 Feb 2019. No funding has been obtained as of yet.

What resources do you need? *

I need funding, technology, expertise, and local councils to trial with.

I should be able to develop the software myself, but I will need to obtain clients (there are logs of my efforts on that here or at least potential ones e.g. via an MoU, a partnership with a garbage truck manufacturer (or funding to purchase a vehicle and modify it), and expertise (likely from a garbage truck manufacturer) to modify a garbage truck as a trial with the weight machine, plus additional technologies that would improve security and efficiency, as mentioned above, like Bluetooth, and a database, Holochain or blockchain (the last if universal consensus is needed, which it may not be).

What is the most important thing that can be done to support your work? *

In the application I marked “Connect with funders” as the most important, however, connecting with governments is probably most important to show a market demand. However, in order to do a trial with a local council, they will probably want to see more public support for the idea, hence the petition Although, if councils fund consultation with their communities, that would be much appreciated!


Weight-based pricing for both residual and compostable waste, coupled with multiple fractions for sorting recycling, has been found to most effectively reduce waste and increase recycling. Pricing for compostable waste is necessary because households with sufficient land (a bare patch of soil for a compost bin), or even those without, can compost their own waste. For the latter case, tumbler bins, worm farms and bokashi bins can be used. The scheme in Bjuv in Sweden was very effective (apparently the most of demonstrations studied) in reducing waste and increasing recycling. However, the cost of the system was high. Additionally, the case in Bjuv is just one study, and further demonstrations would be needed, with other considerations or improvements, for more statistically reliable evidence and conclusions. Other considerations for policy implementers and include:


Wouldn’t it be simpler and better to have smaller bins with a lower fixed cost?

This has pros and cons. It is a simpler scheme. It doesn’t allow for highly variable amounts of waste over time, e.g. in an extreme case creating 500 kg of residual waste in an atypical week vs 0.2 kg per week of residual waste normally. I produce around the latter of residual waste normally, but occassionally I might have something large that has to go to landfill, e.g. a fan. In such a case residents could call a kerbside collection, or store the waste and slowly fill the bin(s) up week by week. Offering more bin sizes isn’t as cost-reflective as per kg pricing, however, the more bin sizes that are offered, the more cost reflective it can be, but you won’t get as cost-reflective as per kg pricing.

It also doesn’t account for the benefits of having multiple additional fractions of recycling waste, collected less often, compared to one mixed recycling bin per week which doesn’t allow for soft plastics recycling. It also doesn’t provide organic waste. However, that is somewhat orthogonal as you can still have bins for residual waste and organic waste and recyclable fractions collected in the same way in each scheme, but just charge differently and provide more bin sizes.

Won’t dumping increase with this scheme?

The scheme in Sweden has found that dumping was initially a problem, then went back to former levels, and did not observe a noticeable increase in litter. Monitoring and reporting e.g. with CleanApp or just calling council plus cleanup would help to manage dumped waste. The fixed fee component of the scheme, if needed, could be used to fund cleanup of dumped waste. Funding could also be allocated for council officers to patrol public areas to monitor for dumping, graffitti, etc., if and as needed. Note also that federal funding via taxes and a nation-wide deployment in councils could also be used to fund the scheme, rather than decreasing variable weight fees and increasing fixed fees, which would increase residual waste.

Why not start a business doing this rather than waiting for political will with councils?

I’m not sure what councils will do if people refuse to put council-provided bins out, not pay rates for waste collection, and put out a bin provided by a private waste collector and pay them instead. I’d have to ask councils to see what they think, but I can’t imagine they would tolerate that. I’m not sure how viable such a business would be without support from government funding, as was the case in the above Irish study. Some form of deregulation or subsidies to private waste collectors may be needed for this to work. Introducing private enterprises, if successful, would result in increased costs due to profit-seeking (and funding growth and offseting risk, etc.), which would lead todisadvantaging poorer people, particularly without adequate support, which tends to be what occurs. Generally I am more in favour of a publicly funded scheme, and do not wish to pursue this as a business.

Won’t this scheme increase costs for people receiving government assistance / welfare payments?

It would not financially disadvantage poor Australians if landlords must pay for the rates and it is made illegal to mark up the rent with Centrelink recipients due to the cost of waste. This depends on the government implementing this scheme if and only if these conditions hold. It would be enforceable for private landlords since if they threatened to evict Centrelink recipient tenants if they reported them to the government, then Centrelink recipient tenants can take the matter up with NCAT, or analogous authorities in other states, NCAT would resolve the case in the tenants favour: they continue to reside where they are without a markup in the rent due to waste collection. The government would be incentivized to implement the scheme because it has been shown to reduce waste, which will deliver public benefits and be less costly in the long-run.” See more at https://www.facebook.com/groups/WarOnWasteAU/permalink/652769901843930/?comment_id=652775288510058&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R%22%7D

Don’t we need more organic waste treatment infrastructure for this scheme to work?

Yes. See more at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1513152818777012/permalink/2177468449012109/?comment_id=2177647292327558&comment_tracking=%7B%22tn%22%3A%22R%22%7D

See also

For more information, see the wiki, e.g.: Design ideas and Contact checklist.

Again, please sign this petition if you support this proposal.


Thanks a lot to Sofia Max, Adam Ray, Violet/Marco Morky, Dean Cooling, and others for your feedback.