The Waste Recycling Industry Association of Queensland (WRIQ) has announced a new program to build the skills and expertise of waste educators.
Through the program, WRIQ will work with the people tasked with delivering waste education initiatives in their communities including schools, local government areas, universities, office buildings and other public places.
According to WRIQ CEO Mark Smith, waste educators are vital to achieving recycling targets.
“This program will enable people to take national campaigns and programs like the ‘Check it, Before you Chuck it” campaign and utilise existing resources to roll out programs that will deliver benefits to their communities,” Smith said.
“There are a lot of highly experienced and talented waste educators across Queensland, but these educators are not always supported, or resourced enough to deliver extensive programs. We are hoping that this work will go some of the way to provide that much needed support.”
Queensland, like the rest of the country, has been tackling waste and recycling issues for many years. And in recent years, this has come into sharp focus for the community.
“This is a good thing and provides us with a great opportunity to continue the conversation. Our community is essential to support the ambitious, but achievable, landfill diversion and recycling targets set out by governments across the country,” Smith said.
“The waste and recycling sector delivers millions of services across Queensland including kerbside collections, organic waste, liquid waste, hazardous waste, commercial, clinical and more.
“The knowledge and expertise of the sector runs deep, and we are always here to support and partner with stakeholders that recognise the challenges ahead of us and the collective role we need to play.”
Working with industry partners, the program seeks to build the capabilities and capacity of waste educators and new recruits to the industry, by providing the skills needed to consistently and effectively deliver waste education and litter reduction initiatives in schools, local communities, public places, apartment buildings and sporting grounds.
Sustainable Schools Network CEO Katie Norman said she is excited about the WRIQ waste education program, as is it a great example of the potential of partnerships.
“By working together, we know we will achieve better outcomes for Queensland schools which will flow into improved environmental, social and economic impacts for the broader community,” she said.
A series of workshops will take place next year, which will equip participants with an understanding of the requirements for effective communication and behaviour change programs, as well as what questions to ask when considering existing or future waste and recycling services.
Participants will be able to workshop with their peers and other industry experts on how to approach waste education programs and strategy.
“So much great stuff is happening and it’s important we effectively engage the community around this,” Smith said.
“Often the best people to engage the community are those at the coal face with the community including teachers, field officers and environmental management coordinators.”
Furthermore, WRIQ will work with its interstate partners to share learnings and create synergies.
“We all can play a part in creating a sustainable waste and recycling circular sector. Waste education and behaviour change is a key element in engaging our respective communities about their important role,” Smith said.
“COVID-19 has taught us the importance of engaging everyone in the community around important issues. Recycling and waste management is an important issue and all communities need to be engaged on it.”
National Waste and Recycling Industry Council CEO Rose Read said as service providers to local councils and businesses, council members are committed to working closely with waste educators and sustainability leaders to help them educate householders and colleagues.
“Putting unwanted items in the right bin is so important. It not only reduces costs for our customers but also ensures greater recycling rates,” she said.
For more information contact Mark Smith at email@example.com