Setting the benchmark: Halve Waste

One of Australia’s largest regional education campaigns, Halve Waste, has taken significant strides in resource recovery.

Facing the imminent closure of its regional landfill, which is of the largest in NSW, Albury initiated the Halve Waste campaign in 2010.

Despite the NSW-Victorian border parallels, Halve Waste was considered a regional goal as all council’s share Albury City Council’s Waste Management Centre as its main disposal facility.

As well as Albury City, the surrounding councils of Wodonga, Corowa Shire, Indigo Shire, Greater Hume and Towong Shire support the campaign. The campaign is all in the name – a target of halving the region’s waste to landfill by 2020.

Halve Waste aims to prolong the life of the region’s landfill to provide critical time and funding for infrastructure replacement and remediation. It saw a comprehensive education and waste reduction program across the region.

Funding for the education campaign was provided via a small surcharge at the Albury landfill, a funding model which can also be used by other council-owning landfills.

Andrea Baldwin, Team Leader – Waste Management at Albury City Council, says with the campaign running for 10 years, the Halve Waste group has taken significant strides towards improved resource recovery.

Improvements at the Albury landfill include a landfill gas system, three weighbridges to track vehicles through the site and a community recycling centre.

In addition, the site also comprises vastly improved resource recovery facilities, including a commercial and industrial and construction and demolition materials recovery facility, solar farm and a significant increase in its gate fee.

The campaign consists of regular advertising and promotion of waste reduction and avoidance messages. All available media is used with messaging promoted via social media, the Halve Waste and individual council websites, and traditional print media.

The school, business and community programs also offer face-to face education sessions. This covers everything from how to recycle, what goes in each bin, how to use the FOGO system, landfill tours, support for waste-free events and waste audits for businesses.

Halve Waste has directly educated over 15,000 school children, community groups and businesses. It has reached over 50,000 people across the wider district through social media and paid advertising.

Albury and Wodonga FOGO collection service has to date generated over 101,000 tonnes of food and garden organics, all of which is being recycled into much needed compost for farms. In 2020, the region will offer a commercial food waste collection service.

“This massive communication program has been supported by a significant investment in infrastructure at the Albury landfill,” Andrea says.

“This includes a community recycling facility, AWARE up-cycle shop, garden organics, whitegoods and timber drop-off points and the push-pit, all designed to capture recyclables before they get to the landfill.”

The Halve Waste campaign continues to be a model for implementing recovery infrastructure improvements and education in regional Australia.

Waste received at the landfill has decreased by 20 per cent and waste buried in landfill by 49 per cent. MRA Consulting provided support to the campaign across a range of areas.

Halve Waste and Albury City Council have won numerous awards for their contribution to the community, including local government environmental excellence awards.

Andrea says that while designed for the Albury region, Halve Waste is a whole-of-community and coordinated council investment.

“The resources, materials, programs and infrastructure development can be tailored to suit any local conditions and opportunities. AlburyCity and the Halve Waste team are interested in tailoring a package for local councils and groups of councils across the country.”

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More than $3 million in grants has been awarded by the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) to increase recycling rates across the state.

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As part of the Resource Recovery Facility Expansion and Enhancement grant, Albury City Council will install a shredder and de-nailing pallet processing equipment at its Waste Management Centre to recover more than 5100 additional tonnes of timber from pallets every year.

Weston Aluminium has been awarded $1 million to expand its facility to incinerate medical and hazardous waste, improving the facility to be able to process 8000 tonnes a year and diver 90 per cent from landfill.

Shoalhaven City Council was also awarded around $350,000 to expand and enhance Nowra and Ulladalla’s waste management facilities operations by installing infrastructure to process, consolidate and transport soft plastics, polystyrene and cardboard. The council estimates that through this, more than 300 tonnes of plastics and carboard will be recovered and diverted from landfill each year.

For more information about the Resource Recovery Facility Expansion and Enhancement grants, click here.

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