Illegal rubbish dumping increase during COVID-19

THERE has been a spike in illegal rubbish dumping and recycling bin contamination in Wellington Shire during the COVID-19 social distancing restrictions.

This is despite all of council’s waste facilities remaining open during the pandemic.

Neighbouring municipalities have reported similar issues.

Wellington Shire mayor Alan Hall said while many used their time at home to declutter and make home improvements, there was no excuse for rubbish dumping.

“We ask all Wellington residents to take responsibility for their waste – there is never any excuse for dumping,” he said.

“Council thoroughly investigates every report of rubbish dumping.

“Penalties range from $332 for an infringement notice up to $6600 if prosecuted.”

Cr Hall said contamination rates in Wellington recycling bins had also increased during COVID-19, and he urged residents to brush up on what items could and couldn’t be recycled.

“I do understand that the way we live during this pandemic has dramatically changed,” he said.

“We have all been spending more time at home, and perhaps some of us have been consuming more take-away products which we are not sure how to dispose of.

“It’s really important we keep our contamination rates down, so we can be a more sustainable community.”

If the wrong things are put into recycling bins, items which would normally be recycled often end up in landfill.

Common contaminants found in recycling bins are soft plastics, clothing, polystyrene packaging and food scraps.

Putting recyclable items in plastic bags also guarantees contents end up in landfill.

Of the 12.7 million tonnes of waste that Victoria generated in 2015-16, recycling stopped 8.5 million tonnes from being sent to landfill.

For a comprehensive list of what products can and can’t be recycled, visit www.recycling.vic.gov.au.