We’re recycling more...but
NORTHERN suburbs residents are recycling their rubbish but are also producing more per person than 20 years ago, according to Mindarie Regional Council waste education co-ordinator Geoff Atkinson.
He said it was important to inform people about safe ways to dispose of unwanted items such as car batteries, fluoro tubes, household chemicals and electrical items. But it was also vital to change attitudes about packaging and buying habits in a bid to cut the amount of waste produced.
The MRC opened an education centre at its Tamala Park landfill and recycling facility about six months ago and will open a second at its Resource Recovery Facility (RRF) in Neerabup within the next few weeks.
The MRC waste management authority helps member councils – the cities of Joondalup, Wanneroo, Stirling and Perth and the towns of Cambridge, Victoria Park and Vincent – dispose of waste. Within those areas, about 600,000 people produce around 370,000 tonnes of waste each year.
Tamala Park buries commercial waste in landfill whereas the RRF converts residential waste from green wheelie bins to compost.
Each council handles waste from yellow-top recycling bins differently.
Tamala Park has processed about five million tonnes of waste since it opened in 1991, but Mr Atkinson said they expected to take the same amount in half that time over the next 10 years.
“We are in a situation where the population is on the increase and people are throwing out more as individuals so we are facing two problems,” he said.
“Consumers still go for packaging and bigger boxes and the manufacturers will continue to provide this while the demand is there.
“In most cases of bulk rubbish collection, the goods end up in landfill, which is a shame because there is nothing wrong with most of it. In the case of electronic goods for example, it is often just that a newer model has superseded them.”
Mr Atkinson said the education centres would enable people to “connect with waste” and ultimately reduce the amount they produced.
Tamala Park “outdoor” education centre features models created from recycled rubbish by local “junk artist” Ken Allen, alongside veggie gardens made of waste materials, worm farms in old fridges and other recycling ideas to try at home.
The Neerabup centre will display general waste disposal information.