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Green waste

Keep garden waste out of the bush

By | Green waste, Illegal dumping | No Comments
Litter Ambassador Maureen Schmitt is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to reduce the incidence of green waste being dumped in Bundaberg region’s bushland and parks. She said garden and kitchen green waste is simply too valuable to dump anywhere.

Litter Ambassador Maureen Schmitt is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to reduce the incidence of green waste being dumped in Bundaberg region’s bushland and parks. She said garden and kitchen green waste is simply too valuable to dump anywhere.

Everyone knows that plastic bags and wrappers, cigarette butts and bottles are litter if they are not disposed of properly but many don’t put lawn clippings and kitchen scraps in the same category.

This is a perception that Litter Ambassador Maureen Schmitt wants to change. She said that although green waste from the garden is organic it is still very destructive if it is dumped in bushland, on sand dunes or on riverbanks.

“Garden waste should be considered a valuable resource, far too valuable to just dump somewhere,” said Ms Schmitt. “Lawn clippings, tree prunings, leaves and even weeds are perfect for making compost or mulch for the garden but they spoil the structure and biodiversity of natural bushland environments.”

Ms Schmitt said many garden plants are nothing more than aggressive ‘bullies’ with no natural controls to restrict their spread in bushland. “Some material, like palm fronds can take years and years to breakdown and they provide no beneficial service to the environment,” she said. “Garden plants can quickly spread by seed or cuttings to form a monoculture of weeds in the bush, and grass clippings can smother native plants and introduce foreign grasses.”

Rather than dumping garden waste, Ms Schmitt suggests leaving lawn clippings on the lawn as a natural fertiliser and mulch, or mixing them with leaves, twigs and a little blood and bone to make a well-aerated mulch for garden beds.

“If you have a small garden it can be economical to share a garden bin bag with a neighbour or even donate your clippings to someone else’s compost,” she said. “Small tree branches cut up into 20 or 30 cm long pieces will break down slowly or you can use them as stakes for other plants. Palm fronds are one of the most difficult things to deal with but even they can be put to use as stakes once the leaves have been removed and added to the garden mulch.”

Using garden waste in this way will help smother weeds, slowly release nutrients and preserve soil moisture – all good outcomes in the garden. Ms Schmitt uses old bins with their bases removed as micro-composters around her own garden. Placing a bin at the base of a tree or within a vegetable garden, she puts all sorts of organic waste from the kitchen and around the garden, including weeds, and pops the lid on. Over time the contents of the bin breaks down and the nutrients are transported into the soil around the tree or veggie garden by industrious underground workers like earthworms.

“This system works so well and means I can ‘Bin it!’ in my own backyard,” she said. “There is no maintenance or digging required and no smell. I can just keep adding new material to the top of the pile. No green waste is sent to landfill and I don’t have a pile of waste that I need to dump.”

Larger tree branches and trunks are more difficult to manage and will generally need to be taken to a waste facility where the Bundaberg Regional Council uses them to make compost for residents to buy. Ms Schmitt recommends neighbourhood cooperation to reduce the cost of taking green waste to the dump as sharing the cost of a full load makes good economic sense. Dumping green waste anywhere other than at a waste facility is illegal and costs councils and ratepayers time and money to clear away weed infestations.

If you see household, garden or industrial waste being dumped in the bush, or rubbish being dropped or thrown from a vehicle, you can report the incident to Bundaberg Regional Council.

The Taking the Lead on Litter! Project is supported by the Queensland Government’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Community and Industry Partnerships Program.

For more information about the BMRG’s Taking the Lead on Litter project, please contact Jacinta Jowett, Project Coordinator on (07) 4181 2999.

 

Litter looks out of place in the mangroves

By | Boating and fishing, Green waste, Roadside Litter | No Comments
Litter Ambassador Lindsay Titmarsh wants to see all our waterways, beaches and mangrove flats litter-free. He is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign, encouraging everyone on the Fraser Coast to make use of the recycling and waste management facilities provided in the region and to keep litter in its place.

Litter Ambassador Lindsay Titmarsh wants to see all our waterways, beaches and mangrove flats litter-free. He is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign, encouraging everyone on the Fraser Coast to make use of the recycling and waste management facilities provided in the region and to keep litter in its place.

Next to ancient middens along the bank of the Mary River lie a plastic tray, glass bottle and a plastic lid, all looking very out of place.

“Rubbish like this just doesn’t belong in our rivers,” said Litter Ambassador Lindsay Titmarsh. “There is no excuse and we all have a responsibility to make sure empty containers like these don’t ever get let loose in the environment.”

Mr Titmarsh’s property, ‘Tandora’, is nestled between the Susan and Mary Rivers, within sight of River Heads. He has come to know the rivers, mangroves and their native inhabitants well in the 60 plus years he has called this property ‘home’.

“What really bothers me is that these plastic items never actually decompose,” he said. “We know that they just disintegrate into smaller and smaller pieces but they become a permanent part of the environment.”

Mr Titmarsh’s natural curiosity has led him accumulate extensive knowledge of mangrove ecosystems, which he enjoys sharing with locals, and tourists from around the world. He said it is upsetting for nature-loving visitors to see litter washed up on the river’s edge in an otherwise pristine environment full of natural wonders.

“We pick up other people’s rubbish all the time because it literally washes up in our backyard,” he said. “I can’t imagine people think about that when they throw rubbish out a car window or drop bait bags out of a boat. I am certain people wouldn’t like it if I dropped rubbish back in their yard.”

Protecting the environment also means green waste such as lawn clippings, weeds, unwanted garden plants and prunings are kept out of bushland. A valuable resource when composted or mulched, green waste has no place in the bush where it becomes a source of weed infestations and smothers native plants.

On the Fraser Coast, rate payers pay approximately $150,000 per year to collect around three semi-trailer loads of litter and illegally dumped rubbish across the region – a substantial and unnecessary cost.

If you see household, garden or industrial waste being dumped in the bush, or rubbish being dropped or thrown from a vehicle or boat, you can report the incident to Fraser Coast Regional Council.

The Taking the Lead on Litter! Project is supported by the Queensland Government’s Litter and Illegal Dumping Community and Industry Partnerships Program.

For more information about the BMRG’s Taking the Lead on Litter project, please contact Jacinta Jowett, Project Coordinator on (07) 4181 2999.