The amount of kerbside rubbish collected in the first half of 2000 from six South-West shires was enough to fill 90 backyard swimming pools, Environment Minister Cheryl Edwardes said today.
In total, 2,700 tonnes of waste was collected by the Augusta-Margaret River, Busselton, Capel, Donnybrook/Balingup, Dardanup and Harvey councils during kerbside collections from January to June last year.
Mrs Edwardes today congratulated the six councils on their efforts to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and commended residents for their strong commitment to recycling.
Speaking at the launch of a new kerbside collection service organised by the six councils to replace a previous South-West venture, Mrs Edwardes said 60 per cent of residents in the South-West participated in kerbside recycling and the number was increasing.
“The cooperation between your six councils has ensured a renewed recycling service for residents in each of your communities for the next two years,” she said.
“It is a significant step forward - not just for the six communities involved, but for our total recycling effort in Western Australia.”
Mrs Edwardes said the amount of recyclable waste that presently went to landfill was a huge problem worldwide.
“It is something the State Government is passionate about addressing and we now have a range of initiatives under way to encourage waste reduction across all sectors, from industry through to individuals,” she said.
A program that offers rebates to councils according to the amount of waste they divert from landfill has been particularly effective in increasing recycling.
The rebate scheme commenced in July 1998, and in its first two years of operation, 52 councils had been given rebates totalling more than $2.2 million after collecting over 254,000 tonnes of recyclable waste.
“That amount would fill more than 8,000 average backyard swimming pools,” Mrs Edwardes said.
In the last funding round, the six councils involved in the new SW recycling scheme collected over $36,000 in rebates for their efforts.
Mrs Edwardes said she was hopeful that waste in WA could ultimately be diverted totally away from landfill.
“Last month, I released a new policy which commits the whole community of WA to a vision of zero waste by 2020,” she said.
“ I believe this is achievable, but only if we all, as a community, help to make it happen.
“In an age when animals have been cloned, a human ear grown on the back of a mouse and a hand transplanted from one person to another, the technology already exists to take much, if not all of our waste from landfill, to create clean water and energy. It’s now a matter of fine-tuning to make it happen.
“We are on the brink of massive change - much of it defined by the growing shift away from thinking of waste as a problem to be managed, towards thinking of waste as a resource.”
Steve Manchee on 9421 7777