Council launches waste app and free electronic voucher

Residents living in the Snowy Valleys can now access a free general waste voucher by downloading a new council waste app to their phone or tablet. 

Snowy Valleys Council is trialling an electronic voucher system for a period of six months with a view to replacing the existing free waste weekends.

Snowy Valleys mayor James Hayes said the electronic voucher trial has been initiated to provide households with the flexibility to be able to do a clean-up and dispose of their waste at their own convenience. 

“I encourage everyone to download the app and engage with the voucher trial,” said Cr Hayes.

“Providing feedback to council on the usability of the app and the voucher will assist us in making an informed decision on the future of hard waste disposal.” 

The council will review the voucher system in June and will consider phasing out the popular waste weekends if the vouchers are deemed a success.

The free waste weekends, which operate four times a year and allow residents to dump their rubbish at no cost for a two-day period, have become a logistical problem for the council.

They take in the equivalent of a year’s worth of rubbish in just two days – about 900 cubic metres of waste, or 90 truckloads. They cost the council $50,000 each time, or $200,000 a year.

The council’s executive director infrastructure Heinz Kausche said the council hopes the voucher system will allow staff more time to assist residents with recycling and reduce traffic volumes during waste weekends which have raised potential safety issues. 

“The voucher trial will run until June 30 and we are keen to have people download the app and take advantage of disposing of their hard rubbish at a time that suits them,” he said.

Along with the waste voucher the new app also features a bin collection calendar with personal alerts, the A to Z of recycling, a bin guide to know what goes in which bin and an easy reporting system for missed collections, damaged bins and illegal dumping.

The app and voucher system will cost the council about $100,000 to implement.

Spending will include $35,000 on a new software and voucher system, about $6000 on computers, scanners, tablets and printers, and $64,000 to implement off-grid solar power at four sites.

The council argues the costs will be offset by more controlled reception of waste and increased recycling of each load, reduced staffing costs, and increased scrutiny of each load to check for non-acceptable waste.

Mr Kausche said the app would become even more useful to residents with the rollout of the FOGO (food organics and garden organics) bins later in 2021, which will result in changes to timings and bin collection days.

Residents can access their waste voucher by downloading the Snowy Valleys Council Waste app which is available as a free download from the App Store and Google Play. The app is available for both iOS and Android Devices. 

During the voucher trial period the 2021 autumn and winter free waste weekends are also planned to continue.