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Committee FOR WASTE REDUCTION

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  • Tuesday, September 18, 2018 3:54 PM | Anonymous

     By Cathy Earle, Eorth

    Living your day-to-day life plastic free is a challenge, however after you’ve completed a few months or a year you’ve usually figured out a routine on the best methods of reducing plastic waste.

    This may include shopping at bulk food stores, taking a reusable water bottle everywhere you go or recycling and composting food waste. But what about those times when you break away from routine, and set off on a journey? How easy is reducing plastic usage while travelling?

    As I head off to Canada for a month-long trip, I’m about to put plastic free travel to the test.

    Step one packing: what items can I take that will help reduce plastic waste? Not just at the final destination, but also during airport/airline travel?

    Plastic free essentials for airline travel – reusables: water bottle, coffee cup, straw and mesh bag for any duty free purchases. The essentials once you reach your destination: Plastic free toiletries such as a bamboo toothbrush, dental floss and deodorant. Not essential but handy to have: Beewax wraps for storing leftovers, reusable metal containers and reusable bamboo cutlery for takeaways.

    The reality . . . when travelling by plane, you’re probably not going to have room for some of the handy to have items. Also reality, you may be prepared with your reusable items, but is the surrounding environment prepared for you?

    It’s 4am as I hit the road to the airport. My reusable coffee cup and reusable water bottle are stored in my carry on.

    I’ve now passed through security and start scanning the Cairns Airport for a refill station (no luck). After an unsuccessful attempt to refill my bottle under the sink in the ladies room, I enquired if there were refill points anywhere in the airport. I was directed towards a hallway outside another block of toilets. Again unsuccessful – it was simply a water fountain and there was no way the bottle was going to fit under the tap. Cairns Airport please take note – this is a needed facility. I resorted to asking the coffee shop to fill my bottle for me. Finally — success.

    As I’d already had my fix of caffeine for the day, I didn’t need to test out the resuable coffee cup. I’ll save that for the international flight – which is sure to bring a slew of plastic horrors. 

    However, kudos to the coffee shop for their great initiative, their bio cups are made of a cardboard material, which are then reused for planting seedlings. 

    I wonder how I can get hold of some of these?

    We’ve now boarded our flight, and the attendant is walking the aisle handing out blankets. I’m typically the first to say yes to a blanket, heck give me two – airline travel is cold. But as usual the blanket is . . . wrapped in plastic, that’s a no. Luckily, I’m already prepared with warm clothing.

    Now they’re handing out sandwiches. While a ham sandwich is definitely not something I’m interested in eating, again hats off to QANTAS for serving the sandwich in a cardboard box – no single use plastic in sight. 

    They also filled my husband’s water bottle with OJ. Wouldn’t it be great to learn they compost the cardboard and food waste too!

    The journey has just begun and so far I’ve only thrown out one Styrofoam tray from the coffee shop (why is anyone still using Styrofoam? – this could be so simply replaced with a paper plate).

    Be sure to follow up on how the rest of the plastic free journey went at EORTH.com.au.

    Until then, safe plastic free travels.

    Cathy

  • Tuesday, September 18, 2018 3:39 PM | Anonymous

     By Owen Waters, FNQ Finance Guy

    Running a business can be full on and there is usually so much going on in the day to day. Every business is different, it could be anything from looking after your customers to administration. Let’s just call this the “important stuff” but it’s the things that you need to do to keep your business running.

    But you have an idea for a meaningful change that you want to make to your business, you just don’t know where and when to start. And how do you implement your idea without impacting too much on the “important stuff” and your stress levels.

    Creating a plan is a great starting point. Jump on your computer or grab piece of paper and start getting it down. Here’s a simple framework for the plan:

    • Identify what you want to change – be as specific as possible
    • Identify the benefit for you and your business - will it reduce cost, provide a point of difference for the business
    • What actions do you need to take to make the change – make sure the actions are as specific as possible
    • Who can help, internal and external to the business and what can they do - ensure they understand the importance of the change particularly if they are staff.
    • What’s you time frame for making the change - is it realistic
    • What does the end result look like.

    Once you got you plan then it's time to implement. So here are my tips for doing just that;

    1. Break it down into smaller, specific, achievable actions. By doing this you can create achievable results whilst not impacting too much on the “important stuff”.
    2. Allocate time. Put it in your diary or calendar. And here’s the magic bit, make sure you do it.
    3. Referring back to your plan as you go will help you keep your eye on the bigger picture, the why. And don’t be afraid to change it as you go. Changing a plan is not a failure, if it was I’d fail regularly.
    4. Review the results. What worked, what didn’t and does the end result look like you thought it would. Sometimes the results of the change mightn’t be apparent for a while so make sure you diarise to review.

    Finally, if you have achieved a positive change then pat yourself on the back and don’t be afraid to shout it out, tell people and share the results. When it comes to waste reduction meaningful change, no matter how small, is important and the ripple effect can be enormous.


  • Thursday, August 30, 2018 10:25 AM | Anonymous

    From 1 November 2018 in Queensland a 10 cent refund can be obtained by returning certain drink containers to a participating container refund point. Most aluminum, glass, PET, HDPE, steel and paperboard drink containers between 150ml and 3L will be eligible. These will carry a special refund mark (after a period of transition).

    These containers are NOT eligible:

    • Any container smaller than 150mL or bigger than 3L
    • plain milk containers
    • glass containers which have contained wine or pure spirits
    • large containers (1L or more) which have contained flavoured milk, pure juice, cask wine or cask water
    • cordial or vegetable juice containers
    • sachets above 250ml which have contained wine
    • registered health tonics

    The scheme aims to:

    • reduce litter from discarded drink containers, mostly plastic, left in open air settings such as parks, beaches, malls and car parks
    • improve the State’s low recycling rate by motivating people to collect and return empty containers to collection points, and motivate recycling where there is no kerbside recycling.

    More at: www.qld.gov.au/environment/pollution/management/waste/container-refund-about


  • Thursday, August 30, 2018 10:05 AM | Anonymous

    In early 2019 the Queensland Government will introduce these levies on all non-household waste disposal at landfill under its new resource recovery and waste strategy which is targeted at businesses and local councils.


    The Government’s aims are to motivate more recycling and recovery of waste and support industry innovation through stimulating investment in industry infrastructure and to create new jobs.

    The levy will support funding for:

    • Infrastructure or machinery up to $5 million on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
    • Incentives to develop new large-scale facilities.
    • Support of advanced feasibility studies for innovative resource recovery, recycling and waste management projects.

    Currently Queensland imposes no disposal levies and receives the most interstate waste, while recovery levels are well below the State average, and mainly focused on reducing contaminants from waste.

    The levy is being designed by a Recycling and Waste Management Stakeholder Advisory Group under the Queensland Department of Environment and Science.

    More at https://www.qld.gov.au/environment/pollution/management/waste/strategy


  • Thursday, August 30, 2018 10:02 AM | Anonymous

    By Jodie Gray, Student Council Coordinator, Year 6 Teacher

    At Yorkeys Knob State School we’ve been planting seeds of sustainability and they’re starting to bloom! The Student Council, comprised of 20 representatives from Grades 4 – 6, supervised by Ms Gray (Year 6 Teacher), have implemented a number of programs to reduce waste and promote sustainable practices. We have recycling bins in each classroom that are collected and emptied into a larger recycling bin for pick-up. Some of the paper is shredded and used for mulching gardens.

    Late last year we constructed a new vegetable garden in a central location, which consists of 12 beds. This year, classes have enjoyed using the garden for Science investigations such as growing beans. Through the hard work of Ms Belinda Challis (Teacher Aide) and the Vegetable Garden Club students, our garden has produced cabbages, radishes, beans, tomatoes, and more. Recently, our produce took out many prizes at the Cairns Show.

    A big push this year has also been to reduce food and wrapping waste. Last term, we removed the rubbish bins in all eating areas and introduced scrap bins for the collection of organic waste. Zero waste lunches means any rubbish is taken home, which reduces waste at school and also helps parents to keep track of what is eaten. Scrap bins are emptied into our compost bins and turned into food for our vegetable garden.

    Our P&C run tuckshop, the Curlew Canteen, is also committed to improving practices and they’ve introduced a system of reusable lunch boxes where students receive a reward for returning containers after eating. To promote our school’s sustainability drive of recycling and zero waste lunches, the Student Council held a recycling poster competition. The winning designs have been made into bin stickers for our yellow-lid bins and large posters, displayed around the school. The remaining entries have been laminated and will soon be used to decorate classroom bins.

    Our Global Tropical Future students, supervised by Mrs Frumento (HOC), are also working on a recycling art project. They are in the designing stage of creating a mural made out of 100% recyclable material sourced from the school community. This project will be completed by the end of term and the mural will be placed near the Tuckshop. The long term goal at YKSS is to enculture sustainability as the norm, not as the novelty!


  • Thursday, August 30, 2018 9:59 AM | Anonymous

       By Owen Waters, FNQ Finance Guy 

    Events as a way to promote your business, either a standalone event that you organise or as a sponsor or contributor to an event, can be a really effective way to reach a wide audience and promote your products or services. They are also a great way to increase your brand awareness and trust. As a business, every time you engage with someone you have an opportunity to make a positive imprint and influence how they see you and your business.

    If you regularly hold events or promotions, or are thinking of doing so, then why not make them single use plastic-free. There is an increasing awareness and understanding about just how destructive single use plastics are, but working out how to be part of the solution as a business sometimes requires a bit of planning and commitment.

    The annual “Grin ‘n Bear It” adventure race held up at Lake Tinaroo is an awesome example of a larger scale event that chooses to be a part of the solution by asking and encouraging everyone to bring their own water bottles and not bring plastic ones. Such a simple action to take. Apart from the obvious reduction in the amount of plastic bottles, more importantly in my mind is the message this sends.

    But what can you do when organising an event? A few easy and effective ways can be: providing access to drinking water and letting people know; not using balloons, there are so many fantastic alternatives; providing eco bags rather than plastic; and using paper straws not plastic. And then promote it, shout it out, and use the opportunity to send a positive message to your clients, staff and the wider community that you want to be part of the solution.


  • Thursday, August 30, 2018 9:52 AM | Anonymous

        By Cathy Earle, Eorth

    When you hear the words “zero waste” or ”plastic free” they are often taken literally. It is assumed one would create absolutely no waste, and nothing purchased would be made of plastic.

    While the goal of zero waste living is to create no waste, and the concept of plastic free is that you’re eliminating the need for plastic products, it doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll be able to eliminate all waste and all plastic in your life.

    The goal of a plastic free lifestyle is to reduce individual reliance on single use plastic. Plastic free or zero waste products, including their packaging, could be placed in a compost system or recycled — creating zero waste.

    Products such as cling wrap could be replaced with beeswax wraps. Rather than buying water in plastic bottles — with the assumption that they will be recycled — instead use refillable stainless steel water bottles. And purchase cotton buds that use a bamboo or paper stick, rather than a plastic stick.

    Single use plastic items as well as multi-use plastic items such will eventually make their way to landfill. That’s why zero wasters opt for wooden handled brushes versus plastic dishwashing brushes, bar soap instead of plastic pump soap, and stainless steel wire pegs rather than plastic pegs.

    Going plastic free or living a zero-waste lifestyle does not happen overnight. You don’t just toss out what you currently have and replace it with zero waste options — that would be wasteful! But you can over time slowly replace the single use plastic items you commonly purchase, and make more eco-friendly waste free purchases.


  • Thursday, August 30, 2018 9:50 AM | Anonymous

    By Scottie Paterson, Communications Officer, Cairns Regional Council Water and Waste Department

    Hi everyone. I've been given the great honour of being able to share Council's own tips and tricks for Reducing Waste, Reusing items as much as possible and making sure we Recycle right through this fantastic newsletter.

    I thought I could kick off the next few entries by sharing some tips for better recycling. Many of you had the opportunity to join me for our recent tour of the CRC Materials Recovery Facility. Located in Portsmith, the MRF receives more than 15,000 tonnes of comingled kerbside recycling each year and through a process of hand and mechanical sorting, bales of recyclable materials are packed and transported for re-processing by southern contractors.


    Most of us have a great understanding of the four main categories of acceptable recyclable items, that our hard working MRF staff bale each day. These items include paper/cardboard, plastics containers, aluminium and steel cans and glass bottles and jars.

    However, there are a number of items that make a frequent appearance at the MRF that just don’t belong in the yellow top bins at all.

    Let’s count down the MRF staff top three picks for incorrectly placed items:

    #3 - Disposable Coffee cups:

    We’ve heard a lot about the bonded polyethylene liner used to waterproof paper cups, making them unrecyclable through conventional processes. This is still the reason why so many of these cups are sent to landfill each and every day, but many are finding their way into recycling bins in Cairns.

    Though there is an increasing number of ‘hybrid material’ coffee cup variants, paper-based, ‘compostable’ and ‘bio degradable’ options, we must remember that the bulk of all these cups aren’t clearly labelled, or easily distinguishable when being processed en masse alongside the greater number of standard unrecyclable coffee cups. Compostable cardboard doesn’t belong with recyclable material and bio-degradable plastics are best avoided all together. Let’s refuse disposable coffee cups, keep the used ones out of our recycling bins, and take ‘BYO cups’ to our favourite Cairns cafés (many local businesses offer discounts for these Waste Reduction efforts https://www.responsiblecafes.org/#home-section).


    Simple steps, great result!

    Next issue we’ll be tackling item number 2 on the list.

    Have a great day.


  • Thursday, August 30, 2018 9:40 AM | Anonymous
     By Jo Piggott, Cairns Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration


    The world is ever evolving and so is the HVAC + R industry. We believe in the importance of continually educating ourselves, to think ahead and be innovative. With our cutting-edge knowledge and experience in HVAC (heating, ventilation and air-conditioning) engineering, we give our customers the latest energy saving technologies, and are committed to the sustainability of our environment.

    There are many ways that our business aspires to be more sustainable and energy efficient with air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. Refrigeration is one of the key players for management to protect our environment now and for the future. As a family business we take this responsibility seriously; this is why we have chosen to educate the public about best practice.

    • One proactive step we make is our Refrigerant Recovery Solutions for disposing of end of life equipment. We ensure that ozone depleting refrigerants are recovered responsibly and refrigerants are returned to the wholesaler for destruction.
    • Living in the tropics, air conditioners are a necessity and require regular maintenance as they can become a hot bed for mould, bacteria and other air borne contaminants, and will become less energy efficient. We use toxin free products with our hydro-clean service to reduce harmful chemicals. We believe it is vitally important to provide services that support the positive health and wellbeing of our customers.
    • Setting your air conditioner at an optimal temperature will reduce your energy use.
    • We dispose of end of life equipment to FNQ Recycling where it is pulled apart for scrap, once we have recovered the refrigerant from the system.

    We have seen a huge change in peoples’ understanding of our industry and feel proud that we can make a difference.

    Our mission is to provide expert reliable sustainable refrigeration and air conditioning solutions to all.

  • Thursday, August 30, 2018 9:38 AM | Anonymous

     By Mark Slimmer, Director, Village Café, 1/138 Collins Avenue, Edge Hill

    Education: If you haven’t already got an understanding on the different waste streams and what can be recycled, start by researching information on the subject. You can read online articles about it to get more informed. Then to find out what can be recycled in Cairns it is perhaps easiest to visit the Cairns Regional Council website https://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/water-waste-roads/waste. You can book to go on a tour of the Waste Recovery centre where you can see first hand how the recycled waste is sorted. Start including your staff in the process to get them involved and participating in the early stages of your recycling implementation.

    Preparation: Next, look at all the types of waste your business produces and decide what you want to recycle. Look at your current waste removal arrangements and how you can modify these to include recycling (be sure to check if existing service agreements allow for revision within a contracted period). Remember, there are different waste removal operators so be sure to assess your options.

    Implementation: Assess the type of bins you want to use to separate your waste internally, where they will be located, and how often they will be emptied into your recycle pick-up bins. You can choose from a myriad of bin types so consider the expected volume of each waste stream and whether colour coding or just labels will do. Brief your staff on the implementation, educate them on what can and can’t be put in the bins, and stress the importance of diligence when separating waste. Nominate a staff member to monitor the effectiveness of your waste separation. Remember the old saying “if it is worth doing, it is worth doing well”. In the case of recycling, if a waste stream is contaminated it may simply be sent to landfill, which makes the effort wasted.


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