Food and green waste contamination management strategies shared at workshop

Standardised bins, education in schools, and partnerships between councils and contractors are among the strategies councils heard about at a workshop, convened by MWRRG, last month.

Over 40 participants joined our ‘contamination examination’ north west organics processing workshop to hear from industry experts and share ideas and experiences about how to best tackle contamination in kerbside food and green waste bins.

Steven Marshall, State Manager - Resource Recovery, Veolia, opened the session by highlighting contamination as an ongoing problem for councils across the north and west of Melbourne. The most common contaminants are plastic, textiles and food packaging, as well as rocks, concrete and bricks—possibly because people wrongly assume their food and green waste bin is an ‘outdoor’ bin, Steven said.

A highlight of the session was hearing from the cities of Yarra and Greater Dandenong about how they have successfully reduced contamination rates in their kerbside food and green waste streams.

Education requires budget, but the expense is recouped by the reduced costs from less contamination, Lisa Coffa, Circular Economy Advisor, City of Yarra said. Lisa spoke about Yarra’s four stream trial, currently underway in Abbotsford. Intensive and ongoing bin auditing, education and engagement with residents has resulted in very low contamination rates in the trial area, Lisa said.

Standardised bins, education in schools, and partnerships between the council, collectors and processors had made a big difference to contamination rates in Dandenong, said Phil Robertson, Service Unit Leader, Parks, Waste and Cleansing at the City of Greater Dandenong. Phil explained how the council has successfully engaged with collection drivers—empowering them to act as agents for the service—leading to better collection outcomes.

Other presenters included:

  • John Cronin – State Manager - Waste, VIC, Veolia
  • Karen Cosson – Campaigns Stakeholder Lead, Sustainability Victoria
  • Andrew Dougall – Industry Development Lead (Organics) Sustainability Victoria
  • Justin Jones – Director, Just Waste

If you would like more information about the session, or if your council would like support from MWRRG to manage food and green waste contamination, please contact Group Category Manager, Paul Shearman at


Last updated: 10/12/2021