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Tackling Hard Waste In Owners Corporations

Hard waste: A growing concern for Melbourne Owners Corporations

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A constant nuisance: Hard waste is an expensive and ugly look for bin rooms

Huge quantities of hard waste are left in common bin rooms across the state every month, and it is costing Melbourne Owners Corporations a small fortune.

A recent Herald Sun report has highlighted Melbourne’s growing problem with rubbish dumping.

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For those who live, own and work in Owners Corporations around Victoria, this is nothing new.

At Strata Plan we receive a huge number of complaints week in, week out to report hard rubbish being dumped in common bin rooms.

Hard rubbish dumping causes constant headaches for those living in medium-to-high density buildings.

This can place massive financial burdens on body corporates, who have to remove the dumped rubbish at everyone’s expense if the culprit can’t be caught.

From within Strata Plan’s own portfolio, some buildings spend over $6000 per year on hard rubbish removal on top of their regular waste and recycling removal.

Hard waste dumping is hard to stop and even more expensive to manage, as building manager Ray Bartolo has learned.

“People leave all types of stuff in there,” Ray, who manages the 199-lot Botanica development in Balwyn, said.

“There is probably a trailer and a half of stuff in there right now and that doesn’t include what some people dump on the surrounding streets.

“Unless I catch them in the act or find evidence on CCTV footage, it can be hard to find out who is doing it. We can’t just leave the rubbish either so if we don’t know who did it, then we have to get rid of it and the Owners Corporation has to pay for it.

“If I do catch them or find out who left it, then I can ask them to remove it, or I can send them the bill for removal.”

The most frequent culprits are usually tenants, who do not pay Owners Corporation fees.

Most waste is left as a result of move-ins or when an occupant is vacating the property.


Often dumped hard waste is spotted by apartment owners or tenants when they take their personal landfill to the common bin rooms.

Other times, hard waste is reported to Strata Plan by waste management contractors when completing their regular pick-ups.

DID YOU KNOW: Waste management companies are not contracted to pick up hard waste. Hard waste collection is an additional service. However, it may be prudent for your Owners Corporation to arrange for hard waste collection day, where your waste contractor can leave a skip at your property for tenants and owners to place all hard rubbish and pick up on their next visit.

Once Strata Plan is aware of the hard rubbish, we will take steps to try and identify who was responsible for leaving the waste. This is often impossible without any witnesses or evidence, such as CCTV footage.

The last resort is to authorise a contractor – usually the waste management company or the building caretaker/cleaner – to remove the waste at an extra cost to the Owners Corporation.


hard waste in apartments melbourne
Anything and Everything: Building occupants will dump just about anything.

As General Manager of CSC Waste, Jock Clark knows how expensive dealing with hard waste can be.

“It’s definitely something people need to address within their buildings,” Jock said.

“This week alone we’ve seen so much hard waste. We went to one building and when we go to collect the bins we found a clothes dryer in the bin.

“It can become a very costly exercise. It’s never an exact science because we get charged at the tip depending on weight and the type of items we’re disposing of.”

Patrick Aherne, director at Aherne Property Services, said managing hard waste can quickly become an expensive exercise for Owners Corporations.

“It depends on the property, but there are some properties we work at that are more notorious than others for it,” Patrick said.

“On average, we probably have to do one hard waste removal every month for all the properties we work at, and then two a month for the worst of the worst.

“At some of the more notorious buildings, we’re at the point where we have to let the rubbish build up to try and keep costs down.”

Patrick said owners should be wary of the hidden costs associated with hard rubbish dumping.

“We have to send someone out to pick up the rubbish on top of our regular visits. One van load is usually about three cubic metres,” he said.

“Then we have to pay at the tip to dispose of what we have and that can vary depending on the items we have.

“Mattresses can cost $25 each to get rid of, for instance.

“On average a van load usually costs the Owners Corporation $300. If we’re doing over 12 a year then that can add up.”


The message is pretty simple.

If you have hard waste, you need to dispose of it yourself.

In short, that means taking your hard rubbish to the tip or taking steps to organise a hard waste collection day.

Common bin rooms are not your personal dumping grounds.

If you have hard waste you need to get rid of, your first ports of call should be your local council or Strata Plan.

If there is enough interest from your fellow occupants or the building’s Owners Corporation committee, it may be possible to arrange for your local council to arrange a hard waste collection day.

Every council is different. Some will allocate a number of hard waste collections for certain buildings, others will not tough hard waste in apartment buildings.

Alternatively, we can speak to your waste management service provider about providing a quote to leave a skip on site for all people to place their hard waste ahead of their next pick up.

Jock from CSC Waste said arranging communal hard waste days can be a much more effective way of dealing with hard waste in a communal setting.

This will come at an additional cost to your Owners Corporation, but if properly communicated and organised will provide long-term savings to your building.

“Some councils offer hard waste collection services, so it’s worth checking with your council, but if they don’t then we’re always happy to work with Owners Corporations, but it has to be structured,” Jock said.

“We can arrange to leave a skip on site for a day for a hard collection day.

“It’s hard to work out an exact cost, because it depends on what people put in the skip. We get charged on weight, so a skip full of lead would be very expensive, whereas a skip full of feathers wouldn’t cost much at all.”

If you are concerned about the amount of hard waste dumping at your property, contact Strata Plan today to start a discussion on a communal solution at your building.

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