February 9, 2023

Amazing video of garbos dumping recycling and garbage in the same truck has been defended by the area’s mayor, who said the practice had been going on for more than 10 years.

Residents of Canterbury-Bankstown, in western Sydney, shared on social media shocking photos and videos of recycling and trash cans being thrown into the same truck.

The images seemed to show that some households’ careful efforts to recycle for the sake of the environment were a waste of time.

But behind the images is a long-standing dispute between municipalities and garbos over the safety, costs and timing of recycling and waste collection.

Residents of Canterbury-Bankstown, inland Sydney, shared on social media shocking photos and videos of recycling and trash cans being tossed into the same truck

The Canterbury-Bankstown area is home to over 360,000 residents.

A leading figure in waste collection said the same practices could also take place in 12 different municipal areas.

An angry woman who posted the photos on an Earlwood community page wrote “WTF.”

“Tell me the advice of Canterbury-Bankstown, why do I separate my recycling from my regular garbage when you come over and just mix it up again?”

Other residents noted that they had seen the practice as well.

“This has been going on for ages so I complained to the council and it stopped for a month or so – looks like they’re at it again,” another woman replied.

Videos and photos of local residents appeared to show that some households’ careful efforts to recycle for the sake of the environment were a waste of time

The mayor of the area raised his eyebrows at his excuse when a resident contacted him to ask why this was happening.

“Just so you know this is not a new problem and has been the practice in Earlwood for over a decade,” Mayor Khal Asfour said in a message to the resident.

“The simple facts are that the streets are too narrow for our regular side loaders.

“There is no room to turn around and we are forced to send rear loader trucks manned by two employees.”

On social media, upset residents took to the mayor’s apology.

‘That’s outrageous! He’s so blasé about it too. Happy to make people pay for the bins, didn’t bother to get it working properly.’

Another resident didn’t take the excuse at all, saying that separate sideloader trucks — one for red and one for yellow — manage to navigate her narrow street and collect residents’ trash cans.

‘I live in a very narrow cul-de-sac in Earlwood with only 13 houses. It is only wide enough for one car to park on one side of the road with just enough room for another vehicle to pass.

‘Where there’s a will there is a way.’

Australian Council of Recycling chief Suzanne Toumbourou said the images are “breathtaking” and hurt public opinion about recycling.

‘We have worked so hard to recycle properly’ [and] this kind of imagery really undermines the trust we need from the community,” she said.

“We would like to see certain local governments better able to manage community expectations and achieve strong recycling results.”

She claimed that household recycling works.

“It works in Australia, it results in valuable bales of recycled material that can be resold on the market… there may be outliers that don’t do the right thing, but we are well on the way as a recycling country.”

But garbage collectors claim the practice shown in the photos and video is happening under pressure from municipalities and the public to run low-cost collection services and get in and out of the street quickly so that traffic isn’t blocked.

Tony Khoury, boss of the Waste Contractors and Recycling Association, said recycling collection is “part of a problem we’ve been fighting for 20 years.”

He confirmed that side-loading trucks don’t fit on many Sydney streets.

Those locations require rear forklifts, which use two runners behind them to empty bins and keep an eye on things.

But that system is notoriously slow and expensive.

All-up rear forklifts “cost 900 percent more” to run than side loaders, Mr Khoury said, so many municipalities choose to use just one truck to keep costs down.

When they do, the contents of the yellow and red bins are collected together.

Khoury said one truck to pick up all the trash is the “safest outcome” on narrow streets, as bringing in two trucks would lead to collisions with the public.

Mayor Asfour told Daily Mail Australia he had called for a ‘full assessment’ of Canterbury-Bankstown waste collection

That means trucks can block households trying to get off their streets to take children to school and to work.

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This is only happening, he claims, because municipalities want waste to be collected after 5 a.m. to minimize noise complaints.

“To minimize abuse to the driver and runner and to minimize the health and safety impact, the decision is made to use one truck…it is the safest possible outcome.”

He pointed to the example of a grandmother on North Beach, Hane Mathieson, 58, who was run over and killed by a reversing garbage truck while talking to her grandson during a morning walk in 2018.

At the time, Mr. Khoury’s organization lobbied to try and change the times when they clean up trash.

He said that recycling as much as possible cannot be the only consideration.

“We need a balance of everything,” he said, “not only can it be the best results for resource recovery, we need good productivity and safety results for the public and workers.”

Mayor Asfour told Daily Mail Australia he had called for a ‘full assessment’ of Canterbury-Bankstown’s waste collection.

‘I want to emphasize that this is not happening everywhere in the city, but in a handful of hard-to-reach streets.

“This is about public safety, and our bigger trucks drive through narrow streets with cars parked on either side.

‘In some cases residents asked the municipality not to put up parking signs so that trucks could easily reach them, and in other cases the residents drove to the end of their street with garbage cans.

“Of course there are still some problematic locations and if the review means changes need to be made, I’ll move heaven and earth to fix this.”