Whatcha gon’ do with all that junk

As more Perth suburbs eliminate verge collections, sustainability experts fear the community is moving backwards when it comes to developing a greener future.

Wanneroo has just had its final round of verge rubbish collection after the city confirmed that there will be a new pre-booked collection service which will commence next year.

“I see it clearly as a step backwards.”

Professor Peter Newman

Residents will now have to book in advance if they want to dispose of bulk household junk.

Wanneroo homeowner Tammy Perez is thankful the new pre-booked system will prevent unwanted rubbish from gathering on her verge.

“It’ll stop people stalking and upsetting children and dogs because they are on your property,” she says.

A wet TV, probably not actually working, on a verge in Wanneroo. Photo: Jess Antoniou.

Resident Joan Chisholm says she benefits from the annual verge collection.

“I’ve sold a few little children’s items that I’ve found that have hardly been used, and you can put it on Gumtree for $10 and you can make $10,” she says.

Verge Valet is one of the collection services being offered to Perth suburbs that no longer have bulk collections.

They offer services in the City of Subiaco, Vincent, Peppermint Grove, plus the Town of Cambridge, Cottesloe, and Mosman Park – all suburbs implementing the pre-booked collection services.

Verge Valet advises people who go to make bookings to think whether their items could be reused, offering second-hand options to consider.

The City of Wanneroo released a statement in conjunction with the end of bulk collection announcement, saying the decision comes as part of its commitment to a sustainable future.

Curtin University professor of sustainability Peter Newman says councils aren’t at all concerned about creating a more sustainable future, but instead just want to get rid of the mess that comes from verge tips.

Hear more from Peter Newman.

“Household junk is the basis of about half of the disposable problems in our state and around the world,” he says.

“There is a lot of mess that goes out there but there’s an awful lot that gets picked up by people who are just too poor and finally they’ve got a bed, or chair, or an old TV that they they can use, and to me, that’s a much more equitable and environmentally superior approach.”

Professor Dora Marinova is also an expert on sustainability at Curtin University and agrees it’s a step backward.

“Verge collection allows a lot of reuse to happen naturally which is more aligned with sustainability and circular economy,” she says.

“The only way booked collection would be better is if people do not use it.”

The City of Wanneroo has been contacted for comment.

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