Have you been watching War on Waste?
The ABC series is generating a lot of discussion and doing a good job of making us all realise how much waste we generate in our daily lives, much of it needlessly.
Last week’s episode highlighted the staggering number of disposable coffee cups going into landfill – an estimated 1 billion a year in Australia – and the fact they don’t recycle well due to the plastic film used to line them.
Hopefully, it had a few more of us reaching for that reusable cup on our desk or in the back of our kitchen cupboard.
Food waste is another huge problem.
It is estimated that we throw away up to one-fifth of the food we buy.
That is not only a massive waste of food and the resources that go into producing it, but food is also a major source of methane generation in landfill.
Lake Macquarie City Council took a significant step towards addressing the problem of food waste late last month when we turned the first sod on our new organics processing facility at the Awaba Waste Management centre.
Once this facility is completed in 2018, our residents will be the first in the Hunter to have access to a designated food-and-garden-waste kerbside collection and processing service capable of producing high-quality compost.
Each household will receive a kitchen food scrap container to allow food waste to be disposed of in their green bin, along with garden cuttings and other green waste.
The contents of green bins will be collected weekly and taken to Awaba to be recycled into fertilising material that can be reused on parks, gardens, sporting fields and in agriculture.
The shift to a food and garden organics composting system will have a financial benefit as well.
It will save Council an estimated $4 million over 10 years in waste management costs, savings that will keep our waste charges to ratepayers down.
As well as reducing the amount of waste going into landfill, and saving money, we hope this new system will encourage people to think and act more responsibly about household waste disposal.
Cr Kay Fraser, Mayor of Lake Macquarie
- Photo: Cr Fraser with a reusable cup, which is great to take to the office.