Rottnest Island community switches to biodegradable paper straws

The Rottnest Island Authority, in consultation with island businesses and the community, has started phasing out plastic straws, with only biodegradable paper straws available upon request from May 1, 2019.

The ban on plastic straws comes at the back of the state government’s continued environmental and waste control initiatives such as the single-use plastic bag ban and biodegradable fishing bait boxes, according to Environment Minister Stephen Dawson.

The policy builds on the authority’s conservation and sustainability initiatives, including renewable energy, waste management and Plastic Free July.

The new plastic straw free initiative has been designed to see a 50 per cent reduction in plastic straw use immediately.

“Most plastic takes years to degrade, in some cases centuries. We want to do more to stop plastic ending up on Western Australia’s beautiful beaches and in our oceans.

“Taking plastic straws out of the litter stream is a significant step towards protecting our environment and A-Class reserves such as Rottnest,” Dawson said.

Tourism Minister Paul Papalia said visitor experience and accessibility are fundamental to Rottnest, so the island continues to look for ways to improve sustainability without impacting experience.

“Local businesses supporting the initiative have pledged to serve biodegradable paper or reusable straws, such as metal and silicone, to ensure there are accessible options for visitors.

“Rottnest is a certified eco-tourism destination and we need to ensure it will be enjoyed for generations to come,” said Papalia.



Environment Protection Authority cleans up “dangerous” waste stockpile

The Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Victoria is cleaning up a waste stockpile at Lara after it reported the previous operator let the recycling waste grow to “dangerous levels”.

The move will ensure that fire prevention can continue in the short term, ahead of a full clean up, according to the authority.

In a statement, the EPA said poor site management practices by the previous operator have resulted in an unacceptable risk to the local community, the environment and emergency services in the event of a fire at the site.

The previous occupier and owner of the site, C&D Recycling, have gone into liquidation and the funding available to the liquidators to maintain security and fire prevention measures on site has ended, which is why the EPA is stepping in to make sure community safety is maintained.

The Victorian government has provided initial funding of $30 million to maintain fire prevention measures and clean up the site – a job that could take several years as the site contains an estimated 320,000m3 of mostly construction and demolition waste, including materials such as timber, concrete, bricks, plaster, glass and ceramics.

The EPA has stated it will rigorously pursue the previous site occupiers, owners, company directors and any other relevant parties to recover the costs of the fire prevention measures and clean up.

The City of Greater Geelong will project manage the works on behalf of EPA and the government.

Since August 2017, EPA has had additional powers to support Victoria’s fire services and issue remedial notices to facilities not properly managing potential fire risks. These powers will be strengthened further under the new Environment Protection Act which will come into effect on 1 July 2020.

Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change, Lily D’Ambrosio, said the government is stepping in to reduce the risk to community and the environment.

Member for Lara, John Eren, said it is excellent news for the whole community to know that the EPA will now take control of the clean-up.

“It’s time to get on with fixing the problem once and for all,” said Eren.

Inside Waste has not received a response from C&D Recycling.

In 2018, C&D Recycling’s David McAuliffe told The Age that it “was not a dump-and-forget situation”.

“We are not 70 or 80 per cent plastic. It’s demolition material and demolition material only,” he told The Age.

Composting key ingredient to creating sustainable environment

Organic material plays a crucial role in building a greener, cleaner and sustainable environment for future generations, which is why composting can come in handy.

With support from the Queensland government, Penrith City Council, Centre for Organic Research and Education, International Compost Awareness Week, and Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group a list of four reasons why composting can help create a more sustainable environment has been created.

  1. Compost diverts food waste from landfill

By composting food waste at home or work, waste is diverted from going to landfill hence its nutrients recycled into fertiliser and offsetting greenhouse gas emissions in the environment.

  1. Compost is key to Urban Farming

Urban farming enables sustainable living among local communities. Compost as a natural fertiliser nurtures soils and eliminates synthetic chemicals, ensuring that high quality, sustainably grown food.

  1. Compost is used to clean up waterways and degraded lands

In lesser-known applications, compost is used in bio-filters to help clean storm water before it travels into the ocean as well as help regenerate degraded land areas such as; mines, eroded catchments and salinity-effected land.

  1. Compost provides healthy soil

Compost has a water holding capacity in excess of 30 per cent and is a key ingredient in locking nutrients in soil therefore producing healthier soil and better plant growth.

May 5-11 marks the 14th International Compost Awareness Week (ICAW) held in Australia. This is a week during which Australians are encouraged to promote the importance and benefits of composting, through workshops or demonstrations.

CORE is a charity that has been championing this international campaign exclusively in Australia for 14 years in an effort to improve soil quality and at the same time reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfills.

CORE chairman Eric Love said carbon materials are fundamental to human existence.

“Recycled carbon materials such as kerbside collected organic materials can create circular economies that benefit environmental, social and economic aspects of human existence.

“This can only be achieved if the uses of products made from these materials are fully supported throughout the community,” said Love.

“While some good progress has been made, all governments can step up to the plate when it comes to increasing the purchase of recycled products instead of in some cases creating procurement barriers,” he said.

Grampians Central West Waste and Resources Recovery Group executive officer La Vergne Lehmann said encouraging residents in our communities to compost more at home and use compost in their own gardens is the best outcome for dealing with the organic waste that we create and our support for International Compost Awareness Week is all about engaging communities to do just that.


Sustainable Concerts Working Group announce international BYOBottle campaign

In conjunction with Earth Day, the Sustainable Concerts Working Group (SCWG), led by multi-platinum recording artist Jack Johnson and his team, have announced the launch of BYOBottle, an environmental campaign that engages artists, venues, festivals and fans to reduce plastic pollution in the music industry by promoting reusable water bottles and water refill stations at music events.

Read more