State Government funding through the Community and Industry Engagement (CIE) program, is driving a whole-of-Island approach to waste management and recycling on Rottnest Island.
Announced by Environment Minister Stephen Dawson in June, the latest CIE grants are supporting projects across the State that aim to improve recovery and reuse of materials such as plastics, glass, construction and demolition materials, and food and garden organics.
Rottnest Island Authority (RIA) secured $52,405 to fund efforts to engage Island visitors about good waste management practices.
“This grant is supporting a number of initiatives to engage our visitors about good waste management behaviours. This includes redesigning public waste education materials, such as foreign language signage, and putting guidelines and policies in place to minimise waste created through visitor services,” RIA Sustainability Officer David Collins said.
RIA has developed targeted education campaigns focused on avoiding single use plastics and improving recyclable recovery for glass, cardboard and plastics. One initiative provides visitors with the opportunity to exchange single-use plastic items with sustainable alternatives.
“Getting simple messages out there, such as ‘bring your own bottles and keep cups’, will help to reduce the amount of waste we have to shift off the Island,” RIA Sustainability Officer David Collins said.
“Every little action adds up, so it’s about putting steps in place to enable those better behaviours and get government, business and community working together to conserve the pristine environments of Rottnest for generations to come.”
The funding expands on a similar grant RIA received last year to work with Island businesses, and their employees, to better manage their waste.
A recent survey of the Island business community indicated that these efforts have been successful, with 80 percent of those surveyed now having a good knowledge of proper waste management practices.
The Island has also installed six new “Big Belly” solar compactor bins. The new bins are designed to cut the number of truck movements around the Settlement to empty bins by 80 per cent. The new bins are 100 per cent solar powered. They can compact 600 litres of rubbish down to a standard 120 litre wheelie bin. The hopper design keeps the waste within the bin, and vermin and birds out.
To support these efforts RIA has also established a Waste Management Working Group comprising members from RIA and Island businesses. The Working Group meets monthly to engage with waste issues and to co-create solutions.
“The Rottnest Island business community has recognised the need to reduce contamination of our recyclables and organic waste that is transported back to the mainland for disposal at significant cost, both financially and environmentally. Appropriate education for all staff and visitors can be the only way forward as we look to improve the way we reduce, reuse and recycle,” said Glenn Evans, Deputy Chair Rottnest Island Chamber of Commerce, Co-Chair of the Rottnest Island Sustainability Committee and owner/operator of The Lane and Simmos Ice Cream.
“Rottnest Island presents a closed system that operates in isolation. We firmly believe there exists a perfect opportunity to develop benchmark practices here that can be rolled out to other communities around Australia and in similar locations.”
The Working Group will be expanded this year to include community members and Island volunteers.
“We welcome the opportunity to continue the collaborative approach that has been promoted through this initiative,” Mr Evans said.
The CIE grants form one aspect of the State’s Waste Avoidance and Resource Recovery Strategy 2030. The Strategy is a key driver behind the Our Priorities: Sharing Prosperity whole-of-government target to ensure at least 75 percent of all WA’s waste is reused or recycled by 2030. Information on other initiatives underway can be found in the article Taking on new ideas for old waste.
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