Strategic approach to waste reduction

Published: 21 Feb 2018

AVOIDING waste before it is created is a key objective of a draft strategy that is intended to reduce the amount of waste deposited in landfill.

The Waste Reduction and Recycling Strategy 2018-2027 was today presented to Cairns Regional Council’s Water and Waste Committee, detailing proposed actions spanning the next decade.

A goal has been identified to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by 15 per cent by 2027, while encouraging residents to take steps at home to cut the amount of waste produced per capita by 5 per cent.

The draft strategy identifies reduction of waste as the top goal of a “waste and resource hierarchy”, placing disposing to landfill as a last resort, behind reuse, recycling and recovery.

“This represents the choice that can be made every day by individuals, businesses and Council,” Mayor Bob Manning said.

“By considering the potential for waste before making a purchase, we can all take steps to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill or requiring processing.”

The draft strategy includes actions to address five key objectives:

  • Provide education and awareness;
  • Reduce waste;
  • Maximise resource recovery;
  • Secure our future needs; and
  • Advocacy and collaboration.

In 2016-17, Council achieved an overall recovery rate for domestic waste of 59 per cent – representing about 60,000 tonnes of recovered waste.

“While this is a great achievement and well ahead of the Queensland Government’s 2024 recovery target of 45 per cent, it still means that 40,000 tonnes of waste went to landfill and that’s where we want to see a difference,” Cr Manning said.

“We will be looking at what steps we can take to reduce waste produced through council activities and also to increase our rate of recovery through the waste transfer stations.”

An audit of kerbside waste and recycling collections found that 17 per cent of household waste bin contents could have been placed in the recycling bin; while about 9 per cent of recycling bin contents were in the wrong bin.

“In addition, nearly 60 per cent of the items found in household waste bins could have been composted at home,” Cr Manning said.

The draft Waste Reduction and Recycling Strategy 2018-2027 is recommended for adoption at next week’s Ordinary Meeting. It is proposed that the strategy will be reviewed every three years.

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Last updated: 21 February 2018