Stateship's coastal trader, C Y O'Connor, arrives in Fremantle tomorrow, at noon, after completing what is believed to be the longest voyage ever made to recycle bottles.
"As an environment initiative I think we have created a world first," Deputy Premier Ian Taylor said.
Included with its regular cargo, C Y O'Connor is carrying 16.3 tonnes of used bottles collected on behalf of Broome Shire Council by Kimberley Wastes and destined for recycling by Perth-based Australian Glass Manufacturers.
"Normally it would be totally uneconomic for the ship to carry bottles for recycling across such a long distance as between Broome and Fremantle," Mr Taylor said.
"But Stateships agreed to waive its normal freight charge so that the Broome community could launch their own recycling scheme for domestic waste.
"Of course it is easy enough to collect rubbish for recycling; Broome's problem had been finding industries prepared to turn the material into useful products.
"At present almost all Western Australia's recycling industries are concentrated in the Perth region."
Mr Taylor said although in the first shipment Stateships was only carrying a container load of glass bottles, in subsequent shipments coastal vessels would also handle containers of newspaper for recycling.
"Waste newspaper is in fact a more valuable commodity and it is possible that some of the waste newspaper collected in the North-West will eventually be exported to Asian pulp mills," he said.
The Deputy Premier said discussions were now taking place with other shire councils in the region and he was hopeful that other towns in the North-West would eventually be brought into the 'long distance' domestic recycling scheme.
"Stateships have to be congratulated both for allowing their ships to be used for this community service and for the contribution the line is now making towards environmental management," he said.