Why zero waste?
Waste is one of our most pressing environmental, social and economic challenges.
Expectations of communities across the world are changing. In the past, it was acceptable to just send all waste to landfill which then shifted to recycling, re-using, and now the focus is about preventing waste in the first place and trying to keep goods in circulation and use for as long as possible.
What does towards zero waste mean?
Many communities across Australia and around the world are working towards zero waste to continuously improve and reduce waste and consumption.
Towards zero waste goes beyond recycling and focuses on reducing as much waste as we can, to get as close to zero materials being sent to landfill as possible. It also means committing to make the most out of each opportunity to avoid, reuse, repair, recycle and recover all resources and avoid wasteful or toxic products and practices.
It is recognised that towards zero waste means that there will be some waste that cannot be safely recovered (spared from landfill) and reused, but the amount going to landfill reduced to the minimum. Specifically, best practice is diverting 90 per cent of waste from landfill.
What is the circular economy?
The circular economy is a shared responsibility to place value on our resources, by getting as much use out of products and materials as we can, and reducing the amount of waste we create in the first place.
It is circular because it keeps products and materials in use, keeping them out of landfill, while building the economy and creating more jobs. For example, using recycled materials to manufacture new items, repairing household goods before buying new ones, repurposing items that are no longer used or reusing products instead of single use items.
What does this mean for me as a resident?
For now, watch this space (and of course avoid and reduce as much waste as you can in the meantime). At this time, we are in the beginning stages of the journey.
First, a Council-wide policy will be finalised focusing on towards zero waste principles as a foundation with community comments and feedback considered.
Second, a Council-wide Towards Zero Waste Strategy will then be developed in consultation with internal Council departments with specific actions that Council itself will be responsible for to reduce its own waste.
During this time Council will be following and aligning with State and Federal governments while they shape their overarching waste strategies. In addition to further engaging the community, stakeholders and industry.
What is this going to cost residents?
We are only at the beginning stages of the journey – investigating, researching, planning and developing what implementing towards zero waste practices means for Council and our community.
It is key that less is placed into landfill. Landfill space is limited, costly to maintain and waste placed in landfill remains in the environment for years.
Residents will benefit from decreased costs of state fees associated with waste levies as well as benefitting from better human and local environmental health.