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Illegal dumping

Sort your gifts from the rubbish

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Litter Ambassador Gavin McPhee said the first step in effective recycling is sorting the ‘good stuff’ from the rubbish. The second step is to determine where to deliver items so their useful life can be extended as long as possible and to extract maximum value from the resources. He is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign, encouraging residents to only donate clean, unbroken and complete items at charity bins around the Fraser Coast region.

Litter Ambassador Gavin McPhee said the first step in effective recycling is sorting the ‘good stuff’ from the rubbish. The second step is to determine where to deliver items so their useful life can be extended as long as possible and to extract maximum value from the resources. He is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign, encouraging residents to only donate clean, unbroken and complete items at charity bins around the Fraser Coast region.

One man’s trash is not always another man’s treasure – sometimes it really is rubbish. The often-genuine desire to reduce landfill and give others a helping hand can result in cases of illegal dumping on footpaths or beside charity bins around towns.

Litter Ambassador Gavin McPhee, Assistant General Manager at Reuse & Recycle Group Inc said the initial sorting of items that are no longer required needs to occur before items are left at charity collection points. He said the volunteers at charity shops should not have to sort through mixed bags of items to recover a few useful items. Rubbish dumped at charity bins also imposes an unfair cost on that organisation to dispose of other people’s rubbish properly — and that’s simply not fair.

“To extend the useful life of an item it needs to be delivered to the right place,” he said. “Things that can be used by another person such as second-hand clothes, crockery and furniture need to be complete and in good condition to be given to a charity outlet.”

“Putting clean, useful items in the same bag as rubbish renders the whole lot useless,” he said. “If you are making a charitable gift to someone, make sure it is in a condition that another person can use it for the original purpose.”

Items that are broken are often still valuable for parts or they might find a new lease of life with a whole new purpose. Mr McPhee said customers often come to the Reuse and Recycle Market Sales Centres looking for spare parts like a replacement bicycle tyre or for re-purposing projects like using a bath tub as a fish pond.

“The final stage in the recycling process is to recover valuable resources from items that have no other use,” he said. “For example, we strip down whitegoods to recover the scrap metal components and reclaim harmful gasses like refrigerant for proper disposal. We also sort waste materials from building sites to recover and re-sell timber, glass, bricks and tiles along with second-hand benchtops, cabinets, sinks, toilets and the like.”

The set-up at Reuse & Recycle Group depot at Nikenbah is very streamlined and designed to make it as easy as possible for residents to recycle as much as possible. When bringing a load to the depot, Mr McPhee suggested that people sort their load to make it cheaper and as easy as possible to simply drive through and drop off items at the designated areas, including items for repurposing through the market centre, cardboard, glass, chemicals, oils, metals and plastics.

Mr McPhee said the steady stream of people coming to the Market Centre every day looking for useful items is testimony to how much people value recycling. This is a double benefit with unwanted items from one household finding a new home and saving customers money and also keeping valuable resources out of landfill, he said. The Reuse & Recycle Group generates over $50,000 per year to invest in community projects in the Fraser Coast region, and employs 35 staff members.

If you see rubbish being dumped at charity drop-off points, 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.

Keep garden waste out of the bush

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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.

 

Clean site, safe site

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Litter Ambassador Bill Moorhead said many builders in the Bundaberg area are doing a great job to manage waste on construction sites, but there is much more that could be done across the industry. He is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to reduce the impact of illegal dumping of construction waste in the Bundaberg region’s bushland and river environments.

Litter Ambassador Bill Moorhead said many builders in the Bundaberg area are doing a great job to manage waste on construction sites, but there is much more that could be done across the industry. He is supporting the ‘Bin It — You know it’s right!’ campaign to reduce the impact of illegal dumping of construction waste in the Bundaberg region’s bushland and river environments.

Housing developments and industrial construction sites are notorious sources of litter, waste and sediment, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Litter Ambassador and Bundaberg President of the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) Bill Moorhead says builders and tradespeople can make a big difference to the amount of waste generated on a building site and the management of that waste.

“Clients can also influence the way waste is managed,” he said. “Waste management is a legitimate cost and customers need to support builders and insist that waste materials are disposed of correctly. There are also savings that can be made through careful management of building materials between jobs and these saving should be passed on to clients.”

“The UDIA does not tolerate illegal dumping of construction and industrial waste,” he said. “Our peak body is fully supportive of council efforts to investigate and prosecute cases of illegal dumping. This practice is bad for the environment and gives the perpetrator an unfair financial advantage over other businesses that are doing the right thing.”

Skip bins are the most common solution to managing solid waste such as timber, bricks and tiles, however Mr Moorhead would like to see builders implementing better systems on site to keep useful materials out of landfill.

He said there are many opportunities to reduce, reuse and recycle materials on the work site including vast amounts of cardboard and plastic packaging that comes onto a building site and usually goes straight to landfill. He applauds builders and tradespeople who are making the effort to ‘Bin It’ — because they know it’s right!

“Liquid waste presents more difficulties for workers on construction sites,” he said. “Everyone is aware of the negative impact of plaster, concrete and paint being washed down stormwater drains and most tradespeople now wash out their equipment on the grass where it can break down, causing less environmental damage. Silt fencing and bunding of sites to keep liquid waste out of the stormwater is one area that needs improvement on many job sites.”

In addition to the environmental benefits of keeping a lid on waste, litter and silt leaving construction sites, Mr Moorhead said there are also significant financial benefits.

“Clean, tidy work sites are more efficient, there are less accidents, the workers are happier, less product is wasted and the buyer gets their property completed sooner,” he said. “Everyone stands to benefit when the building industry takes waste management seriously.”

Dumping 200 L or more, about the amount that would fit in a wheelie bin, anywhere other than a designated waste management facility is illegal and penalties of over $6000 apply for each infringement. Penalties increase according to the volume and type of items discarded illegally.

The Bundaberg Regional Council introduced an Illegal Dumping and Littering program in 2013. Since then, more than $36,000 in fines have been issued but the problem of loose litter on roadsides and adjacent to commercial premises continues to grow. CCTV cameras installed at illegal dumping hotspots has assisted in the difficult task of identifying offenders.

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 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.