Log in



  • Friday, October 26, 2018 1:59 PM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    By Owen Waters - FNQ Finance Guy

    Who’s excited about the upcoming festive season, never ending Xmas parties rolling into Xmas day and the new year. I love a good Xmas party and that’s not hint for an invite.

    If you are a business owner or involved in organising your work Xmas party this year, then why not make it as environmentally responsible as you can by ensuring there are no single use plastics involved. And there are a couple of easy ways you can do this. If you are organising and hosting your own then making the pledge is easy, if you are having it offsite it might prove a little more challenging, but still absolutely doable.

    But first what are Single-use or disposable plastics? They are any plastic item which is used only once before it’s thrown away or recycled and includes things like plastic bags, balloons, straws, coffee stirrers, soft drink and water bottles and most food packaging.

    So, what can you do to make your Xmas party single use plastic free? Well one easy way is to choose a venue that you know is contributing to the solution. And there are some awesome people and organisations around who are making this easier for all of us such as “The Last Straw on the Great Barrier Reef”. Check out their website and click on the “Officially Registered Businesses” page for a list of venues who don’t use plastic straws. Of course, when choosing a venue, the other easy way to find out is to ask.

    Another easy win is with the good old Secret Santa. Why not ask everyone to make sure that they buy only single use plastics free presents? Sure, it adds an extra layer of fun to that last-minute rush to buy a present for that work colleague you don’t like all that much, but it might actually result in more thoughtful presents.

    Simple actions such as only buying items which are not single use plastics and supporting businesses who don’t use single use plastics, is such an easy thing we can all do. The flow on effect is that the more people do this the more economic it becomes for businesses. Simple actions

    I wish everyone a fun filled, single use plastic free, Xmas (party).

  • Monday, October 22, 2018 12:42 PM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    Hi Everyone, 

    We’ve been counting down the top 3 items incorrectly placed in our household, kerbside recycling bins and today we’ve finally reached the end of our journey.  Do you remember where we started? That’s right, coffee cups (number 3), food scraps (number 2).  What item do you think is our main problem in the Cairns region?  Well if you guessed plastic bags, you’re completely right.    

    Number 1: Soft Plastic Bags

    Staff at the Materials Recovery Facility still continue to see large amounts of shopping bags, bin liners, even the latest so called ‘reusable’ soft plastic bags appearing mixed through our recyclables.  Many well-meaning residents bag their recyclables, thinking they are helping, but unfortunately this material can’t be processed and their efforts are wasted.   

    Soft plastics can’t be recycled through Cairns Regional Council systems, but there are a number of drop off points at local shopping centres where these items  (such as shopping bags, pasta and rice bags, biscuit packets, cereal box liners, frozen food and veggie bags) can be deposited for reprocessing through alternative programs.  One such program is known as Redcycle Coles & Woolworth stores across Cairns have receptacles for receiving these soft plastics (nearby their checkouts). Make sure to ask your local store to confirm where you can place returned material in their store.  

    Committing to advoiding and reducing our use of soft plastics is the most important action we can take. Let’s remember our resuable bags when visiting the shops, select grocery items with less packaging, not use bin liners, remove cling wrap from our lunches and work together with people all over Cairns making a difference.

    To reconfirm acceptable items for Cairns Regional Council kerbside recycling bins please view our recycleright page. 

    Thank you so much for reading. 

    Have a great day


  • Monday, October 22, 2018 12:34 PM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    At St Andrew’s Catholic College, we have a Junior Years with over seven hundred students. Each class from Year 1 to Year 5 have an SRC leader elected (Student Representative Council). Last term these hard working students decided to help tackle the large amount of garbage which was being thrown away and going straight to landfill. Inspired by ABC’s War on Waste, we conducted our own small scale garbage audit which tangibly demonstrated where we needed to start.

    With invaluable advice from Scott Paterson and Michelle O’Loughlin from Cairns Regional Council, we decided to focus on three areas; collecting vegetable and fruit waste to go to our school’s worm farm, recycling hard plastics and paper, and finally to stop children bringing soft plastics to school in the first place.

    A main feature in our program is that, not only are the wonderful class teachers supporting this move, but we are also reinforcing this by teaching all students how to recycle in our Japanese classes. Our SRC students helped produce a movie called ‘Don’t bring plastic to school’, which was entirely in Japanese. All students will learn the theme song in their Japanese classes while learning about how recycling works, not only at our school, but also in Japan.

    We will teach students key words and phrases for recycling too so that students can use this language as they go about their daily recycling in Term Four.

    頑張りたいと思います! (We will do our best to make it work).

  • Friday, October 19, 2018 10:37 AM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    If you have commenced recycling in your business you will have learned the most common items businesses can recycle are similar to what you can do at home: cardboard, newspaper, office paper, aluminium and tin cans, glass bottles and jars and plastic bottles and tubs. Hopefully you have implemented all of these and you are seeing a notable reduction in the non recycled waste your business sends as general waste that ends up in landfill. You may not be aware that there are numerous other items you are likely receiving or using every day in notable quantities that are still going in your general waste but some can actually also be recycled. The following are some examples:

    Soft plastics such as clear bags and cling wrap. In today’s world we receive a lot of goods packed in clear plastic bags or wrapped with cling wrap. No matter what business type yours is I am sure there is a lot of soft plastic! These items cant go in your recycle bin at home and typically cant go in your standard business recycle bins, but as long as they are clear plastic and not contaminated by food, liquid or other waste they can be recycled. Talk  to your recycling agent about how you can include these items in your recycle waste. If you cant find anyone to take these soft plastics talk to North Queensland Recycling Agents as you may be able to arrange to periodically drop these items to them.

    Paper napkins and paper towels. If your business is a food service one, or you have a lunch room, you may have a large quantity of paper napkins that you are disposing of. Your restrooms may have a large amount of paper towels that are merely used to dry hands. These items can be recycled. They typically should not go in your office paper recycle bin and your recycle agent may accept them going into your cardboard bin. Regardless of how they are to be collected and recycled, they must be free from contamination such as food, liquids or items that are not paper. 

    With recycle items that are not part of regular recycle pick ups you may find that a little more effort is required to sort, store and dispose of these. Once you establish suitable methods and arrangements you should find it easy and see a further reduction in your general waste.

  • Thursday, October 04, 2018 10:02 AM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    We’re counting down the top 3 items incorrectly placed in our kerbside recycling bins, making sure that we are doing all we can to eliminate contamination from our precious recyclable material.  Last month we focused on number 3, disposable coffee cups and how they definitely do not belong in our yellow top wheelie bins.

    Here’s our 2nd highest incorrectly placed item:

    Household Food Scraps

    Many of us have now switched over to home compost options, or very popular worm farm kits to great benefit for our gardens in FNQ.  But food scraps have a way of still appearing in unsorted recyclable material dropped off at the Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) each day.  Of course, food scraps are not recyclable, but it is recoverable and can be put to good use either in home composting, or via the green lid/red lid waste bins in our weekly Council collections.

    Did you know that food scraps placed in our waste bins are processed through the Suez Advanced Resource Recovery Facility in Portsmith where the waste is aerobically composted and the organic portion diverted from landfill?  The composted materials can be used for sugar cane crops or other beneficial broad acre applications.

    Let’s all make sure to keep organic material of all kinds out of recycling and help the ‘MRF’ staff keep our recyclable material clean.

    Next issue we tackle the number 1 item on our list.

    Stay well and remember, There’s no place like our place, let’s keep it that way.

    Article credits: 

    Scott Paterson | Water and Waste - Marketing and Communications Officer

    Business Development & Compliance | Cairns Regional Council
  • Thursday, October 04, 2018 9:57 AM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    Queensland Resource Recovery Industry Development Program (RRIDP)

    This new program offer $100 million in funding and other support over three years to develop a high-value resource recovery industry for Queensland by diverting waste from landfill, reduce stockpiling, and using proven technologies to increase resource recovery for more valuable uses.

    Projects can be to build new infrastructure or improve existing operations.

    Businesses, local governments and not-for-profits can propose projects or form consortia for projects along the entire supply chain, from collection and transfer to sorting and remanufacture, plus waste to energy.

    Three funding streams are designed to attract a mix of projects at different stages:

    Stream 1 - Resource Recovery Grants Fund: Dollar-for-dollar

    capital grants of between $50,000 and $5 million for infrastructure to enhance or build new waste recovery facilities or for capital investments in new processing and technological capabilities.

    Stream 2 - Resource Recovery Project Fund: Broad incentives to attract or expand major resource recovery operations that will divert significant amounts of waste from landfill, reduce or prevent stockpiling and recover substantial resources.

    Stream 3 - Resource recovery investment pipeline fund: Support toward capital intensive, long lifecycle projects that require a contribution towards investigations to assist with investment decisions for Queensland.

    More at Department of State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning website. resourcerecovery

  • Thursday, October 04, 2018 9:46 AM | Lesley Van Staveren (Administrator)

    The passions project was a recent initiative in year 7 at Trinity Bay State High School. The aim of the program was for each year 7 class (13 in total) to decide on a way to give back to the community. Without any direct influence from me, my year 7 class considered a number of options and finally settled on a rubbish clean up to be undertaken in the local area. Several students noted that our perimeter fence at the back of the school had become quite polluted, so we set about cleaning this stretch of area which also borders a natural swamp and easement.

    We had one lesson to complete our project and during that time, our class of 20 students collected 5 large bags of rubbish and diverted 70 cans and bottles from landfill to our recycling bins that we keep in the year 7 area.

    Students noticed that the cans and bottles we collected were 'like new' and weren't very old. It was a great way for them to see for themselves how valuable these containers are given that they originate from the Earth's raw materials which uses lots of energy and other resources, only to be then used to quench someone's thirst in a matter of minutes.

    This project got recognition on the school's facebook page and during the passion project's presentation night held at the school theatre in the hope that it would inspire other students and the wider community to take personal responsibility for their litter and plastic consumption at all times".

    Link to facebook post:

    With thanks to Adrian Kass and the students of year 7 for sharing this story with CFWR.

  • Tuesday, September 25, 2018 3:48 PM | Anonymous

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

    Hopefully you have made the move to commence recycling in your business. If so, you can probably expect some teething problems in the early stages, all of which should be straight forward to solve. Some common issues that arise in the early stages of separating your recycling waste are 1) Wrong items in bins, 2) contaminated recycled waste and 3) overflowing bins. Here are some suggestions to address each of these: 

    1. Wrong items in Bins. Staff education is one of the most important areas to ensuring your waste recycling effort is successful. You have to ensure all staff clearly understand the importance you place on your recycling effort, the specific items you want recycled and how and where to dispose of them. Make sure your system of waste separation is easy to understand and easy to adhere to. Some places use separate labelled bins and some use labelled colour coded bins to assist with correct separation. It may be necessary to empower a staff member to be the driver for your recycling process, ensuring ongoing checking of waste processes and education/reiteration with staff. Choose a person who is interested in caring for the environment and perhaps an avid recycler at home. 
    2. Contaminated recycled waste. This is a high focus area in the recycling world at the moment. Aside from the wrong items being in the wrong waste stream, contamination can be food or liquids that are left in containers. Ensure that items that are being recycled are emptied and rinsed prior to being placed in your recycle bins. This will assist in ensuring your effort is not wasted and the items rejected and sent to land fill. It will also assist in reducing insects and animals being attracted to your recycle waste. As in point one, having a dedicated person to drive your recycle effort will assist your success in this area. 
    3. Overflowing bins. There are a few areas you need to look at if this is occurring with your recycled waste. The obvious ones are number and size of bins and the frequency of pick ups. It will take a few weeks into your recycling program before you get a good idea of the volumes you are producing of each waste streams so you can adjust bin numbers, bin size and frequency of pick ups. One not so obvious is how the waste is packed into the bins. Make sure all cardboard boxes are properly flattened and plastic bottles are crushed. If you do this right you can get possibly upwards of 20% more into a bin.
    Kind regards, Mark
  • Tuesday, September 18, 2018 7:16 PM | Anonymous

    By Rob and Dani, Rob's Rubbish Removal.

    We are Rob & Dani, a husband and wife team that decided to start working for ourselves at the end of 2016. Rob had just replaced his 30 year old Gemini with a ute, so we could get rid of our never ending falling palm fronds and he thought - why not help other households and businesses (who don't have a ute). He came up with the saying "If it fits on my tray, I'll take it away!" (which is now our Trademark) and we were up and running (and lifting)! We provide Residential, Commercial, Recyclable and Green Waste Rubbish Removal Services in Cairns and the surrounds.

    Ever since we started we became committed to reducing the amount of items that end up in landfill. So wherever possible we reuse, re-purpose & recycle, give to Buy Back shops and donate items. We are beginning to build a network of like minded people who share the ideal of a circular economy. This is why we became members of the Committee for Waste Reduction and are proud to be Waste Wise Business members. By joining we have been able to go to workshops and attend seminars that has helped us learn better waste reduction practises which we can pass on to our customers.

    We love what we do, love meeting people, promoting recycling and waste reduction and love getting around Cairns to see all the beautiful views!

  • 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

    Until then, safe plastic free travels.



Enter your email below to sign up to our monthly newsletter.

Upcoming events

  • No upcoming events

Share this page

Powered by Wild Apricot. Try our all-in-one platform for easy membership management