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Committee FOR WASTE REDUCTION

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  • Friday, February 21, 2020 12:18 PM | Valentina Vélez Rivera (Administrator)

    At the beginning of each year I choose a word for myself, as well as a word for my business. These words are the theme I would like to have for the year- almost like a mini-mantra, to keep me on track. I’m excited that the word for Wellness Embodied Physiotherapy in 2020 is COMMUNITY. 

    At Wellness Embodied, we believe that physiotherapists have a key role in management of acute and chronic pain and injury- this is obvious. But, as a practice that values ‘Treating the Whole Person- not just a Body Part,’ we aim to go deeper. We promote balance, prevention of health problems, the power of the breath and body awareness and much more. We believe that communities are the key to well being and aim to play an increasingly strong role in the community around us, which is why I’m so passionate about being a Board Member of the Committee for Waste Reduction.

    I’ve recently written an Environmental Checklist, which would be useful for all small businesses, particularly Health & Medical, in their aims to be more sustainable (email me: Suzanne@wellnessembodiedcairns.com, for your copy). But I’m aware as an employer that my staff have different passions within the community, which is why I’m so pleased with our new bonus program.

    Each quarter, staff members will set 5 goals related to each of our key values: Compassion, Leadership, Integrity, Consistency and Kindness (CLICK). These can be both personal and professional goals: to run a half marathon for example, or to give a free Health talk in the community. They also nominate a local charity or organisation of their choice- who will receive a donation for each of the goals achieved. The staff member will also get the opportunity to visit the organisation- to volunteer or to present their donation.

    We look forward to engaging more within our community in 2020 and wish you all a happy and healthy one! #cairnscares J

    Suzzane Rath

  • Friday, February 21, 2020 12:15 PM | Valentina Vélez Rivera (Administrator)

    The Australian Governmentestimates food waste costs the Australian economy $20 billion each year. Over 5 million tonnes of food ends up as landfill, enough to fill 9,000 Olympic sized swimming pools. One in five shopping bags end up in the bin = $3,800 worth of groceries per household each year. preparing and consuming food.

    Food waste ends up wasting nearly a quarter of our water supply in the form of uneaten food or over $172 billion in wasted water... When food is disposed in a landfill it rots and becomes a significant source of methane – a potent greenhouse gas with 21 times the global warming potential of carbon dioxide.

    We all have to take responsibility for creating foodwaste and become more aware of our attitude and actions to foodwaste.

    Change is occurring we all know about it and how we humans through our actions in the past have accelerated and  contributed in a negative way to it we are as a collective are all responsible !!!!

    There has been great strides made over the last few years on waste in general from plastic to food to electrical consumer goods to paper ,however more action is required and its simple and easy to get started.

    There are numerous off the shelf programmes, equipment and processes that are available now and have proven case studies that work  to reduce foodwaste.

    One of these modalities that  I have had 15 years experience selling into the hospitality industry is the IMC foodwaste station that takes foodwaste raw and cooked through a macerator ,dewater ,invessel aerobic drum and creates a resource – compost ,therefore eliminating the need for  any carbon footprint and anything going to landfill .This fabulous  resource compost  is great  for growing  veggies!!

    This off the shelf system is now available in Australia .Its best in your business to understand  what and how much food  you are wasting.Weekly audits  are a great starting point to weigh your kitchen foodwaste ,and  this allows you to set a target to work on.Inevitably there will always be some amount of foodwaste like onion skins and potatoes skin however majority of it can be controlled.

    Foodwaste Facts

    Did you know that 65 percent of foodwaste is created during the  preparation of food example we peel a onion or potatoes’?= we have created foodwaste

    30 percent foodwaste comes from what we leave on our plates after we have had enough to eat (large buffets are the main culprits here  (eyes are bigger than the belly )!! =We have created food waste

    5 percent of foodwaste is wasted through spoilage example burning or destroying our food so we are unable to eat it.= we have created foodwaste

    Another contributing factor is overbuying food and when not used in the timeline suggested  the shelf life has expired and therefore in most cases unusable.

    We all have to take responsibility on how we treat understand our foodwaste get started its easy the resources are out there to help.

    Foodwaste is not in good taste !!!

    Say no to foodwaste !!!

    For further information on what products are available  and best practice food waste options contact the food waste specialist at :

    Tina OHagan Foodservice Consultancy is( based here in  Cairns )

    Mob: 0476524738

    Email:tinaohagan98@gmail.com

    www.tinaohagan.com.au

    www.tinaohaganfsci.com

    www.thefoodpod.co.uk


  • Monday, December 23, 2019 2:44 PM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    We are rapidly coming to the end of the decade, this is always a great time to look at what you have achieved and set your intentions for the new year.

    In the last 12 months as an organization we have delivered multiple workshops educating in different ways to reduce waste either in business or at home.

    We have continued to grow the membership base and are steadily creating a space for like minded individuals and businesses to connect. To share initiatives they are running that others can learn from as well as what their business does and how we can support it as a community.

    Our whole board stepped forward to lead the Committee For Waste Reduction for another 12 months as well as 5 new members bringing an additional wealth of knowledge to the table.

    Your 2020 board members are:

    • Tony McInnes (Fuji Xerox Business Centre) – Vice President
    • Dan Hannagan (Medalfield pty Ltd & Freshwater Buy Back Shop) – Vice President
    • Kylie Arantz – Secretary
    • Anne Naylor (ENJOpreneur) – Back up minutes secretary
    • Daniel Chalmers (FNQ Plastics) – Treasurer
    • Rebecca Steele Scott (Create More) – Deputy Treasurer
    • Robert Gale (Next Level Sustainability) – General Board Member
    • Michelle Torrens (The Junk Weavers) – General Board Member
    • Suzanne Rath (Wellness Embodied Cairns) – General Board Member
    • Tina O’Hagan-Holohan – General Board Member
    • Trevor Bostock (Omni Builders) – General Board Member
    • Lisa Costa (Neocon Homes) – General Board Member

    2019 has marked a huge shift in attitudes towards what needs to be done to tackle the plastic, single use issue, climate change and the growth of working towards circular economy principles which reduces the fast consumerism trend and enhances reuse, reuse, remanufacture opportunities.

    In 2020 we will be launching the Green Ripple Effect in partnership with Manoora Community Garden thanks to Cairns Regional Councils Community Sustainability Grant, we will be releasing more information in January. 

    We are also hosting a design thinking workshop to find out what you wish to advocate for.
    Is it waste wise events, more businesses on board with learning how to improve practices or perhaps how political campaigns can drastically reduce the amount of waste created election. There are so many possibilities on where to focus our energies so we wish to know what is important to you. BOOK HERE

    We appreciate wholeheartedly your support through 2019 and look forward to driving more initiatives with impact in the new year.

    Our top tips over Christmas are:

    • Think about what you a buying – is it needed? Will it last? How will it be disposed of in the long run?
    • Toys – is it cheap plastic? Is it over packaged? Are there more educational and fun toys that would be a better gift?
    • Visit op shops for gifts.
    • Support local – small business is what keeps our economy thriving and you can make a real difference to your community when you buy from a family business.
    • Wrapping gifts – Do you need wrapping paper? Can you wrap in fabric, old newspapers, jars, tins, Baskets? What are your top tips for sustainable wrapping paper.
    • No single use plates, cutlery or cups at parties. All pitch in to clean up and wash up, it’s a great way to retain the community feel.
    • Food – plan ahead. Prepare dishes that are great leftovers for a second meal. Think if there is too much how are you going to dispose of it? Composting, bokashi bins, worm farms or chickens are all great options.

    These are just a couple of ideas, there are hundreds more! We’d love to hear your top tips for a green Christmas.
    Look after each other, share love, kindness and respect. Reach out if someone is alone or struggling over the holiday.

    With gratitude,

    Lesley Van Staveren

  • Monday, December 23, 2019 2:36 PM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    CONCRETE STORY:

    Did you know that Australia creates more than 20 million tonnes of construction and demolition (C&D) waste every year?

    C&D Waste is made up of asphalt, sand, rubble, plasterboard and large quantities of concrete with much of this material being sent to landfill across the country.  According to the QLD recycling waste report 2018, as much as 2,592,287 tonnes of C&D waste was disposed of last year, with 1.8 million tonnes of the concrete component recovered for reuse projects across our state.

    So how exactly is old concrete be recovered and reused?

    Surprisingly recovery of concrete is quite simple.  Firstly, confirming the source and type of the concrete, making sure it's not contaminated is the most important step. From there, sourcing a concrete crushing machine to break down the existing concrete into varying sizes of output and separating material screened through the process.  The output can then be made available for multiple construction uses and therefore recovered/reused.

    2019 marked a significant change for Cairns Regional Council's own internal construction and demolition waste reuse efforts, with the implementation of a new Council wide contract process for recovering and reusing much of this material.  A driving force for this change was Council's strategic focus on reducing waste sent to landfill as part of its new Waste Reduction & Recycling Strategy, while simultaneously minimising costs associated with the newly implemented QLD Government Waste Disposal Levy (as of July 1 each tonne of material sent to landfill attracting charges of between $75-$155, with yearly increases for the next 4 years). 

    Representatives from across Council departments met with local industry stakeholders to workshop all options for recovering soil & green waste, asphalt, road pavement waste and of course construction and demolition material. 
    The outcome, a new series of contracts put in place to provide for concrete crushing, internal material reuse (including road and non-structural concrete applications) and contracts with local operators across the Council region to achieve greater diversion of C&D waste from landfill.

    In June an impressive 13 tonne remote controlled, 240HP 'Hammerbreak' mobile shredder arrived on site at Portsmith, Cairns (operated by local contractor Bugeja Earthmoving) its mission, to divert the majority of pre-selected concrete material from landfill from Council operations. In only 10 weeks since its arrival more than 2,200 tonnes of concrete material has been crushed, screened and put back into new projects for the Council, including use in non-structural concrete construction projects (such as footpaths), site grading and as bedding material.  The screening process also able to recover steel from the waste material, which is then sent to recycling contractors.

     

    Manager of Waste, Cairns Regional Council Steve Cosatto said “At the heart of everything we do as an organisation is achieving a future where landfilling of waste is the last option. Cairns Regional Council wants to lead by example in treating concrete and construction waste as the potential valuable resource it can be.  We are excited to see new technologies and partnerships between local operators, government agencies and community to maximise our resource recovery potential, all doing our bit to move towards a more circular local economy”

    Recycling and reuse of Construction and Demolition waste is definitely the way forward for organisations like Cairns Regional Council, achieving reduced costs for waste operations while simultaneously delivering greater environmental protection. 


  • Monday, December 23, 2019 2:34 PM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    Community Clean Ups: PARLEY for the Oceans.

    From its exterior in Cairns North, Shirtbox looks like many other businesses in the area. At first glance you may not notice the solar panels installed by owners Christian and Maren and you may not be aware of their eco-friendly printing practices. From the exterior, you won’t see the hive of activity going on in the large backyard, as volunteers work to painstakingly sort through the ‘treasure’ gathered during Parley Australia’s local and remote FNQ beach cleans. Surrounded by dozens of Parley labelled hessian bags, they ensure everything that can be recycled, is recycled. Some of the volunteers start joke ‘collections’ from what they find on the beach- small toys for example, or interesting dolls. Christian and Maren have a large shipping container which they fill with found plastic that should be recyclable, however they have not yet managed to find a reliable source to do this. Often this is because the plastic is contaminated- with dirt or other rubbish picked up in the ocean or on the beach. Sticking with the Parley ethos, they’ll keep trying to find a way that is ethical to do this.


    Parley for the Oceans describe themselves as a space ‘where creators, thinkers and leaders come together to raise awareness for the beauty and fragility of our oceans and collaborate on projects that end their destruction.’ They are potentially most famous for their collaboration with Adidas, who make a line of training wear from at least 75% upcycled plastic trash, produced with a low energy and low water printing process. Christian has been involved as a photographer and filmmaker with Parley for over 4 years and petitioned the founder, Cyrill Gutsch, to allow them to set up a branch in Australia. Parley Australia has been in action for just over a year, running a prolific number of beach clean ups and remote camping clean up trips. Cairns has a strong group of regular volunteers, aged between 20-35 and they are always happy to welcome more people to their clean ups. Volunteers can rest assured that Parley operate to the highest standards- they have pulled out of clean ups before when they learned that the boat was funded by Sea World, for example. Parley doesn’t rely on any Australian based funding and clean ups are low cost- with volunteers often car-pooling or contributing a small amount towards camping trips. It’s also a great way for visiting backpackers to get a trip to some of the region’s most beautiful areas, such as Cape Tribulation, while contributing to the health of our planet.

    I had the pleasure of spending a night with the Parley Crew camping and cleaning up Dunk Island a few weeks ago. 25 of us picked up over 250kg of rubbish by day one. This included- a huge water tank, lots of broken glass and the hard to spot remnants of clay pigeon shooting targets. Containing petrochemicals, these are obviously extremely toxic to the environment and may make anyone think twice about the recreational activities they engage in while on a resort holiday.

    Anyone wishing to become involved with a Parley clean up can link up with Parley Australia on Facebook. For more information on the Parley movement, go to www.parley.tv


  • Monday, December 23, 2019 2:30 PM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    Climate Change

    Climate change is an ongoing problem in the world as Bill Mckibben once said “Climate change is the single biggest thing that humans have ever done on this planet. The one thing that needs to be bigger is our movement to stop it”. 

    One of the biggest impacts with climate change is that natural disasters will be worse and more frequent, secondly our grandkids won't get to see the seven wonders of the world which means you are taking away some of you grandchild's experiences and thirdly if we go above 2 degrees most of the animals will become extinct because they cannot adapt fast enough.


    Natural disasters will be worse and more frequent like fires will be bigger and hotter so it will go further therefore not many places will be safe. There was up to 111 fires raging in NSW and QLD and there were fires in the amazon. It is getting hotter therefore fires are more likely to happen. if you leave any glass in the bush and the sun reflects onto it that may cause a bushfire. Studies show that 84% of wildfires have been caused by humans over the last 21 years, debris burning, arson and campfires have combined with climate change to make the fire season much longer.

    If we don't do the right thing with our waste then our grandkids won't get to see the seven wonders of the world. If we don't recycle then all the rubbish will go into the Great Barrier Reef and all the coral will die so it won't be colorful it will plain white. If you have a containers for change near you you can take all the plastic bottles that say 10c on the back of them. When you go shopping try and only buy the things you will eat because then there will be no food waste. If you go shopping for some pencils and they are covered in plastic with cardboard on the back you can recycle that cardboard you just need to rip off the plastic.

    The extraordinary ocean and its iconic creatures are under threat. From a warming climate and the expansion of industrial fishing. We need to put a restriction on industrial fishing otherwise all the fish will get eaten and they won't have time to reproduce. Some of our fish that we are catching actually have eaten plastic and when we eat the fish we are eating the plastic too. Fresh water turtles keep water quality high in our river systems. They’re scavengers that get rid of all the dead fish and any other rotting animals in the rivers, keeping them clean. Murray river turtles have declined by 90% in the last 40 years and in some areas, they are extinct unless urgent action is taken the entire population could be wiped out.

    In conclusion, natural disasters will be worse and more frequent, secondly our grandkids won't get to see the seven natural wonders of the world. and thirdly, if we go above 2 degrees most of the animals will become extinct because they can not adapt fast enough. Like Barack Obama once said “No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change” so let's all stand up and make a change.

    By Lachlan Royle


  • Monday, December 23, 2019 2:02 PM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    What a year it’s been for Straw No More, as we continued to grow our army of Strawbassadors across the country.   Strawbassadors are ordinary kids, just like Molly, who are on a mission to help reduce single use plastics in their own schools, towns and regions.  We encourage them to visit local businesses, to speak to their elected representatives and to raise awareness wherever possible.


    As awareness increases of the issues surrounding single use plastic pollution, we love seeing all the extra people who are finding ways to reduce their plastic consumption.

    We’ve now had over 1600 schools take the Straw No More pledge, along with 1200 businesses.  Combined, this totals about 900 thousand people who are engaging in this campaign to reduce their single use plastics consumption.

    The year started with a meeting with Prime Minister ScoMo in January where he said (on video!) that he supports Straw No More being introduced to the Federal Parliament.  ScoMo got a nice T-shirt for his efforts!

    Leichhardt MP has been a huge supporter of Straw No More since it started in 2017, and it was an honour to be named as his inspiration for his plan to formulate a single-use plastics policy in his last term in parliament.  Politics is a funny game, and allies can come from places you least expect.  But Red, Blue or Green: We don’t care what colour your shirt is … We’ll happily work with anyone who can help us save the Great Barrier Reef and rid the oceans of single-use plastics. 

    Also, in May, Molly attended the STEAM AHEAD Festival at Western Sydney Parklands to address a sea of young people who were so passionate about helping the environment.  She also addressed an auditorium of students at the Sustainable Schools Symposium at the Gold Coast, alongside Melati Wijsen from Bali’s Bye Bye Plastic Bags initiative, and Kareem El-Ansary the UN Youth Ambassador.

    In June, Molly took a seat at the International Online Summit “A Solution to Plastic Pollution” alongside some other amazing eco-warriors from across the planet. 

    She also spoke to 300 Year 9 students at yLead, a traveling roadshow supporting Australian schools in developing a generation of confident, motivated and skilled young leaders.

    Just after that, we were at Gladstone EcoFiesta to share the exciting news that Gladstone Regional Council had taken the Straw No More pledge and would cease using single use plastics in all of its operations.

    July was also pretty crazy busy!

    Early in the month, it was a really exciting experience to attend the International Ocean Heroes Bootcamp at University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada.  This bootcamp, run by the Lonely Whale Foundation, saw Youth Ocean Activists from across the globe focus on their campaigns for the greater good.

    Then, on July 18th, after more than a year of petitioning McDonalds with the help of the team at ABC’s War on Waste, Maccas finally rolled out the first of its 990 Australian restaurants.  There’s still a long way to go, and we’ll keep working to help them make better choices around their plastic packaging.

    September was also a busy month!

    On September 4th, following in the footsteps of all Queensland local councils doing the same, the Queensland Parliament took the Straw No More pledge. We had been working towards this for quite some time, as it means it will open doors for other states to do the same.  

    We have some very passionate StrawBassadors in South Australia who are tenaciously working to get their local councils on board, and it was great to see so many of them take the Straw No More pledge this year.

    We are paying a lot of attention at local government level in the hopes that it will lead to the ultimate goal of having Parliament House in Canberra do the same.  

    Also, in September, we were excited to welcomed Toby from Boomerang Alliance to Cairns, and to help with the rollout of the "Plastic Free Cairns” initiative in 2020.

    We also loved working with the Amateurs Horse Racing Carnival to help it continue on its plastic straw free mission for the second year in a row. 

    And we had a quick trip to SeaWorld to learn about the challenges they face with single use plastics, and while its’ going to be a big job, we are excited to work with them on reducing their plastic consumption.

    In October, we formed a partnership with Zero Co, an Australian company on a mission to rid our kitchens and laundry of plastic containers by introducing home cleaning products in eco-friendly containers. 

    In November, the Queensland government announcement it will be banning many single-use plastic items, including straws, cutlery and plates. Molly had the opportunity to speak to the Global Eco Asia-Pacific Tourism Conference and spread the Straw No More message to hundreds of tourism operators from across the Asia Pacific.

    Also in November, it was an honour to take out the 2019 Queensland Landcare award for Waterways Protection, meaning we’re off to the National Landcare awards in Sydney in 2020.

    In December, Molly began working with the Federal Government on "The Academy for Enterprising Girls” initiative, which launched at Parliament House in Canberra with the aim of helping young girls participate in STEM subjects.

    We also ducked down to Melbourne for a campaign with Clarks school shoes, who are manufacturing the soles of their new range using recycled plastic, alongside another 11 year old activist Jack Berne from Fiver For A Farmer. The "In Their Footsteps" campaign launches in January.  

    2020 is gearing up to be just as busy as this year is.  We’ve already made lots of plans to keep spreading the Straw No More message, and we’d love you to keep up to date with what we’re doing on Facebook and Instagram.

    Thanks for all your support over the past couple of years.  It’s been great to see how far one little ripple of an idea can travel.


  • Monday, September 16, 2019 11:23 AM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    My role as a Special Envoy for the Great Barrier Reef and my plan to develop a national policy on plastics are two separate issues although they will go hand-in-hand.

    The Great Barrier Reef remains a vibrant, beautiful ecosystem of immense value to Australia and the world.

    There are certainly many challenges that we must confront, but, remember, we are the best reef managers in the world—something that, as a nation, we should be extremely proud of.

    We also need to start striving to become world leaders in removing plastic pollution from our oceans.

    I'm determined to see a ban on single-use plastics implemented nationwide to address this growing environmental concern.

    I realise this won't happen overnight, but we cannot keep putting it off.

    I have a threefold plan to achieve this.

    Firstly, we must address our consumption of single-use plastics, such as bags, PET bottles, styrofoam packaging and plastic straws.

    This can be done through a mix of education and legislation, but will also require a significant shift in community attitude.

    Secondly, we need to have a national scheme working towards recovery and collections.

    Recovery and collection work is currently being done haphazardly and in silos across the nation.

    Thirdly, we need to work with our leading scientists and agencies to develop ways in which we can process recovered plastic and turn it into a renewable and, more importantly, usable product or material.

    The government is already acting to address this important issue.

    During the recent Council of Australian Governments meeting on 9 August, plastics, reducing waste and recycling were firmly on the national agenda with the Prime Minister's announcement to ban the export of Australia's waste.

    This opens the door for all future government contracts to have a specified recycling component as part of the tender process. This is guaranteed to stimulate the manufacturing industry.

    It was great to see all states and territories unanimously decide to work with the Commonwealth Government to tackle this important move forward.

    As the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, said at the time: I don't think there is a community you will walk into today or a young child that you speak to who won't tell you about the problem of plastics coming through our waterways, ending up in our oceans”

    Not a truer word has been spoken, and by working together we've made a giant step in the right direction.

    I look forward to working closely with my colleagues Sussan Ley and Trevor Evans in developing a plan to rid our nation of its plastic waste and to ensure it no longer ends up in our waterways and oceans.



  • Monday, September 16, 2019 11:19 AM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    Cairns residents may be closer to driving on roads made of glass bottles (recovered through kerbside collections) thanks to recent successful asphalt trials at Cairns Regional Council (CRC) facilities.

    Cairns Regional Council in partnership with local company Pioneer North Queensland have just completed trials using 18 tonnes recovered crushed glass to create more than 120 tonnes of asphalt for new roads installed across Council facilities in Portsmith. 

    Though large quantities of glass bottles and jars placed in yellow top kerbside recycling bins in Cairns are recyclable, a portion of this material is unsuitable for use in glass re-manufacturing due to the particles being too small or contaminated with ceramic, stoneware, pyrex and plastic.  This material is known as glass fines. As part of the mechanical sorting process of waste sent to the CRC Materials Recovery Facility, glass fines are diverted through a crushing unit, which is able to crush the fine particles into varying sizes, to produce a sand like output.   

     

    Government and commercial construction of roads require large volumes of sand, this material mostly sourced from quarries in the Barron River Delta, Cairns Tablelands and from South East Queensland dune sites.  As an alternative to this material being excavated out of the environment, Cairns Regional Council has demonstrated that large volumes of this glass sand (in this instance 90,000 bottles worth) could be used as a substitute.   Staff of Pioneer North Queensland noted that during the trial pour (and after final quality inspection had been made) that ‘there was no noticeable difference in terms of its placement and performance versus normal sand/asphalt'.  Staff involved in the trial also commenting “There is no doubt that recovering glass for this use helps protect our local Cairns environment, in having less dependency on virgin material, but also shows that material traditionally sent to landfill can instead be used as a resource”.

     

    A lesser known fact, that though Australia is far from the most populated nation on earth that we are still one of the largest contributors to municipal (household) solid waste globally each year and with something of a crisis currently facing our recycling industry we all need to reboot our thinking towards waste.  This is a time when government and industry can re-think waste, implement more sustainable recycling methods right here in Far North Queensland, projects that repurpose glass sand and other waste products for roads & non-structural concrete requirements are clearly a great place to start.

    Thankfully government and industry have many more waste recovery projects in the pipeline, let’s continue to play our part in the rethinking of waste as a resource, achieving a more circular local economy while taking greater responsibility in reducing our waste, in order to send one less truck to landfill today.


  • Monday, September 16, 2019 10:51 AM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    St Joseph’s Primary School is on a mission to reduce waste and help the environment by recycling as much packaging and other items, as possible.

    With the help of their mascot, Mercy, the children and staff are striving to separate recyclable, compostable and general waste, as well as plastic bottle caps to contribute to the betterment of our planet. This also instils a sense of responsibility in students from a young age.

    The school has its own environmental committee whose members keep track of what rubbish is put in which bin. Through a series of creative videos featuring Mercy the cow, children are educated through demonstrations to ensure items are recycled or thrown away correctly.


    As well as lunchtime waste there is also a cardboard recycling cage and collection point for used batteries which then get delivered to the Cairns City Library for proper disposal.

    The scraps from the classes’ fruit breaks are collected then deposited into compost bins which were generously donated to the school by Frankland Island Cruises and the Power family. The compost from the bins is then used to nourish the school’s vegetable gardens. The Kitchen Garden program is sponsored by Piccones IGA.

    Plastic bottle caps are also collected which are an overlooked waste product and are fully recyclable. Through Rotary Club of Cairns Sunrise, Envision Employment Services is using the plastic bottle caps for their filament to make mobility aids, disability aids, STEM training tools and aged care gadgets. Envision Hands has successfully taken this plastic and extruded it to create functioning filament to 3D print all the components to make up a hand! Envision is also working on a variety of products at various sites including outdoor tiles, portable disability ramps and slug traps.

    St Joseph’s…striving to be GAME CHANGERS!


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