COOL Chats: Council lifts the (bin) lid!

Waste is a very hot topic at the moment, particularly in Darwin as City of Darwin Council are preparing their new waste strategy to increase diversion from landfill.

COOLmob & ECNT got in touch with City of Darwin Council’s waste education officer to ask some questions about the current state of our community’s waste. 

As can be seen by our interview below, there is still a long way to go in sending to landfill in Darwin. We encourage all our readers to take a look at the report from the Council’s waste management consultation.  The feedback will be used to inform the Waste Management Strategy to guide Council and the community in the war on waste over the next ten years.

Also, if you’re interested in learning more about how you can create less waste, join the Waste Free NT community

What is Council’s current waste diversion from landfill rate?

We currently recover approximately 12% of the waste we generate in Darwin, but we would like our diversion rate to be higher and we know we can do better than 12%.

What is the domestic household contamination percentage in recycling?

Contamination rates in household yellow bins are as high as up to 50%! Even if just one wrong item is placed into the yellow bin, other valuable recyclable items can be wasted! See what can and can’t go in your yellow bin

When was the last time Council did a Darwin waste audit on homes to determine contamination levels?

June 2014.

Where (either nationally or internationally) are the paper and cardboard, glass, aluminium and hard plastics sent for recycling?

These materials are shipped interstate to various brokers to obtain the best commodity prices on the market and shipped where appropriate for recycling. 

Is all food waste sent to landfill? 

Yes

Is Council looking to begin a food waste diversion program? 

We had included the program in our Waste Management Initiative Plan for consultation. 

Do household white and electronic goods, such as refrigerators, TVs, computers, etc have valuable components such as metals, removed before going to landfill?

White goods are being degassed and sent to Sims Metal for recycling. E-Waste items are recycled through E-Cycle Solutions and shipped interstate for recycling. No valuable substances are removed from these items before shipment. 

Are fridges degassed when collected in cyclone clean up before being squished? Are all fridges on site degassed? 

Yes, all fridges and air-cons are degassed from the Pre-Cyclone Clean Up on site at Shoal Bay Waste Management Facility.

What education programs is Council currently running to decrease contamination and increase education? 

City of Darwin have engaged Environment Centre NT & COOLmob to conduct our Waste Education in Darwin primary and high schools. This program will be rolled out in 2019 and aims to educate students around correct kerbside recycling, how to reduce soft plastic use, how to conduct a waste audit and how to engage members of the community to create social change around waste. 

What is the most recycled material in Darwin? 

I would say cardboard in kerbside recycling.

Council has an e-waste recycling program (batteries, print cartridges, and mobile phones). What are the results of this program?

The community has embraced the program, more recycling is being diverted from the kerbside collection, meaning more diversion from landfill.

What quantities are being collected?

Every two months, we collect approximately 20 – 30kg of batteries; 2 x 120L bags of printer cartridges;  and ½ to a full A4 size box of mobile phones.

Where are these sent to be recycled?

Batteries are collected by Veolia and shipped to CMA – EcoCycle.

Printer cartridges are collected by Australia Post and shipped to Planet Ark.

Mobile phones are collected by Australia Post and shipped to Mobile Muster.

COOLmob recently completed an E-waste Education Project and you can read the full report on the COOLmob website to understand more around the current state and issues facing e-waste in Darwin.