There is no single or simple solution to Australia’s rubbish woes. Recycling is a nationwide effort, requiring co-operation between councils, waste management experts and individual residents. In Victoria, local councils co-operate with waste management experts like WM Waste, who in turn work with individual residents to maximise recycling efforts and reduce environmental impact.
So what are some of the myths that make it more difficult to implement effective waste-management solutions?
We have more than enough space to bury waste
We do have more space available in Australia than many countries do in Europe, but the real concern here is not so much about space, but what we do with it. Once the waste is delivered to a landfill site, it can no longer be sorted for recycling. For this reason, landfills are toxic sites, where the breakdown of waste and chemicals contaminates the land and waterways and emits greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. Stricter waste laws in China has made it more difficult for Australia to send its waste overseas, meaning we will have to improve our recycling efforts in order to avoid creating more landfill.
All material is placed in one general truck destined for a landfill site
If you see the same truck collecting your general waste and recycling materials, it is merely because the same vehicle making one trip is more efficient than sending multiple trucks. Recyclables – or green waste – is taken to material recovery facilities, while the same trucks will take general waste to landfill.
The council can handle all my waste
Of course, there are limits to what councils can transport and sort, which is why they co-operate with waste management experts. And whatever rubbish can’t fit in council bins – such as waste from renovation projects or large items – can be collected by professionals who will provide the appropriate skips and transport it to recycling facilities.
Someone else will sort my rubbish for me
Placing everything in one bin places employees at recycling facilities at risk for contamination, plus it adds to the expense of recycling which then requires a raise in collection fees. Your recycling does need to be placed in appropriate bins. For large amounts of waste, companies can provide different skips for different purposes. These skips are then taken for further sorting and recycling.
Recycling doesn’t make a big difference to the environment
Yes, recycling trucks use fuel, but landfill sites contribute to greenhouse emissions on a vast scale. Studies have proven that environmental savings of recycling efforts definitely help conserve limited resources.
Recycled materials have already been refined and processed, so the second round of manufacturing is less energy-intensive in terms of using natural resources than it would have been the first time.