How Melbourne’s iconic laneways are becoming resource recovery hubs
How Melbourne’s iconic laneways are becoming resource recovery hubs

Claire Moffat


Two new waste and resource recovery hubs in Melbourne’s CBD will help businesses reduce waste, limit the number of bins in laneways and encourage recycling. New bins will also be installed with solar-powered sensors to alert collectors when they need to be emptied.

The city’s 2020-2021 draft Annual Plan and Budget includes a $24 million investment in delivering residential and commercial waste services across the municipality. $1 million will be channelled into the laneway hubs.

Lord Mayor Sally Capp said the CBD waste and resource recovery hubs in will generate more efficient and environmentally friendly collections of commercial waste and recyclables from nearby businesses.

“The hubs will allow us to remove up to 110 commercial bins from city laneways and cut up to 7000 waste collection truck trips from the city each year,” Capp said.

Less street mess

“This means less mess on our streets, reducing the amount of noise from garbage trucks for nearby residents and cutting carbon emissions by increasing the efficiency of the collection system.

“Bins in laneways look ugly, take up valuable space, cause odour and can attract insects and vermin. By delivering on our commitment to establish more resource recovery hubs we are working to reduce noise, smell and mess in our city,” Capp explained.

51 new bins

City of Melbourne Environment portfolio chair Cr Cathy Oke said 51 new recycling bins will be installed on city streets this month with solar-powered sensors to alert waste collectors when the bins need to be emptied.

“Solar powered compactor bins have already helped us cut the number of rubbish truck collections down from 90,000 a month, to just 12,000 a month,” Oke said.

“Like the solar rubbish bins, solar recycling bins will use gentle compaction to increase capacity to about six times that of a regular recycling bin, which means they don’t need to be emptied as often.

“This helps reduce the number of trucks on our roads, which is great for city amenity and helps to reduce our carbon footprint.”

Bins will show what can be recycled

The new recycling bins will complement the city’s 396 solar compactor rubbish bins which were installed in 2018, and are in addition to the city’s 232 existing public recycling bins.

The solar recycling bins will be installed next to existing solar waste bins, with signs to show what can be recycled. Locations include Swanston Street, between Flinders and Franklin streets; Elizabeth Street, between Flinders and Lonsdale streets; Bourke Street Mall; Southbank Promenade and Southern Cross Station.

Oke added that the new waste and resource recovery hubs and solar recycling bins are part of Council’s commitment to investigate new opportunities to manage litter, and to stimulate circular economy solutions for waste.

“Both these initiatives will support our move towards a circular economy where we maximise reuse, recycling and recovery, and minimise waste to landfill,” Oke said.

“We’re also continuing to support businesses and community groups to reduce waste through $200,000 in grants through the Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund.”

“We’ve faced enormous challenges this year, with devastating bushfires followed by COVID-19, and it’s important that we continue to take climate action while responding to these events.”

The City of Melbourne has three waste and recycling collection facilities for the commercial sector:

  • Degraves Street Recycling Facility processes food waste and collects glass, steel, aluminium, plastic and cardboard generated from more than 100 cafes and restaurants
  • Five communal waste compactors in laneways that take waste from more than 480 businesses
  • Eleven recycling hubs offering free recycling to businesses, with an additional 175 cardboard bins in 68 laneways across the central city.

Public submissions on the draft Annual Plan and Budget 2020-21 are open until 5pm on Wednesday June 17 2020.

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