Waste is a design flaw. If you’re producing a lot of waste, there is something not functioning efficiently inside your organisation.
Nate Morris | Rubicon
TURNING THE TIDE ON WASTE
Waste is one of the biggest challenges our world is facing today, - especially when it comes to single-use plastic and discarded food. Not only is our waste resulting in a massive environmental footprint, it’s also costing ratepayers and businesses a fortune.
On average, Peninsula households generate a whopping 2800kg of waste per year! Residents are paying for this via Council rates - over $30million per year are allocated to waste services . That’s by far the single biggest item in our annual Council budget!
In addition, for many local businesses a huge amount of income goes to waste - literally!
With waste export bans coming into effect in 2021, the cost of waste services will continue to rise, affecting your bottom line. The good news? The Peninsula has collectively agreed to send ‘zero waste to landfill’ by 2030, shifting to a localised circular economy .
Read on to discover more and join the Waste Wise Peninsula Community.
Calling the Peninsula home, we’ve all witnessed the impacts of single use plastic littered along our beaches. Our local Beach Patrol groups tirelessly clean up our favourite spots, removing thousands of items every year. In 2019, a whopping 21,014 kg of litter (including 39,839 drink containers) were collected by Beach Patrol Australia alone!
SINGLE-USE PLASTIC FIASCO
THE OTHER BIGGIE? FOOD WASTE!
Food waste makes up 45.5% of residential landfill waste on the Peninsula. The good news is - that’s changing with Council’s introduction of FOGO (Food & Organics) bins.
Unfortunately, many local businesses continue to send huge amounts of food to landfill.
The average food business in Victoria throws away more than 100 kg of food every week, over half of which could have been prevented.
It’s not just a waste of good food and lost profits, it also wastes natural resources.
As food piles up and anaerobically decomposes in landfill, it produces methane gas - a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide!
WHAT ABOUT OTHER WASTE STREAMS?
While plastic and food waste make up the biggest percentages of waste for most Peninsula households and businesses, there are a few other materials to consider. As a rule of thumb, think about where your purchased item ends up when you’re done with it.
If you must buy the item, think about its end of life (including any packaging). Is there another use? Can it be upcycled or recycled into something else? If not, it’s destined for landfill.
Remember - our goal is to phase out landfill.
No matter what material you use, the waste hierarchy is the best place to start.
There is no such thing as "away." When we throw something away it must go somewhere.
Annie Leonard | Rubicon
THE HIDDEN COSTS OF WASTE TO BUSINESSES
The actual cost of waste far exceeds the obvious waste disposal and management costs we pay. Consider those costs to be the tip of the iceberg. Here are some additional hidden costs likely to be impacting your bottom line.
Purchasing costs of items that are wasted
Labour costs due to staff handling material that ends up being wasted
Water, space, energy wasted on the material
Lower staff morale as staff don’t like dealing with waste and inefficiencies
Your lost opportunity for revenue from wasted material
Potential environmental liability and OHS costs
Potential damage to your brand and reduced sales as customers increasingly demand sustainable business practises.
WASTE & CLIMATE CHANGE
The manufacturing, distribution, use and disposal of pretty much any product we consume generates carbon emissions. This applies to things made of plastic, paper, food, metal and all other materials.
By identifying carbon neutral solutions and shifting to more sustainable options, we can significantly reduce how much we individually contribute to climate change.
JOIN THE PENINSULA'S CIRCULAR ECONOMY
In nature, waste doesn’t exist. Everything is reused to create something new.
That’s exactly how a circular economy works! It’s based on the principle that waste is a design flaw.
Shifting to a circular economy means designing out waste, reusing materials indefinitely and regenerating our damaged natural systems.
It’s about changing our ‘throw away’ mentality (or the ‘linear economy’) and the current way we do things: extracting finite resources, creating products (that we often only use once) and then throwing them out into landfill.
A lot is happening at a global level to shift to a circular economy. At Waste Wise Peninsula, we’re helping the Peninsula transition to a local circular economy. We work with our community and businesses to turn global solutions into local action.
Source: The Conversation
Sounds hopeless? Well it’s not! While the situation is messy, a lot is happening in the world of waste and many clever people are working hard on innovative solutions.
At Waste Wise Peninsula, we’re taking a local approach to global challenges and share simple steps you can take to reduce your footprint and save costs at the same time.
In a nutshell, this involves cutting back on single use plastics, tackling plastic pollution, food waste and phasing out landfill by joining the ‘circular economy’ revolution.