A Burdekin Shire Council project has helped local businesses understand recycling and reduce the amount of recyclable packaging going to landfill.
Council’s Governance and Local Laws Manager Dan Mulcahy said 385 Burdekin businesses were invited to take part in the Getting Burdekin Business Busy Recycling project.
“The project aim was to educate our business owners about recycling and waste management and to reduce the amount packaging waste going to the Kirknie Road Landfill site,” he said.
“An initial survey showed that businesses have a recycling rate of about six per cent in calculating the amount of recyclable waste to general waste disposed compared to recycling rates of residential waste of 49 per cent.
“Our team identified that there is considerable scope to make improvements to reduce the amount of waste to landfill and divert waste to recycling streams given the low recycling rates associated with businesses.
“Our three project officers made 136 visits to businesses and were surprised some had given no consideration to recycling or any thoughts as to where their waste ends up.
“The results of the project found that about one third of businesses didn’t recycle because they thought it was too costly and another third were considered to not have the sufficient knowledge on recycling or thought recycling was inconvenient.
“This project provided business owners with information regarding recycling and how to minimise waste.
“It was also found that a small percentage of businesses did not have recycling services.
“Council will now review its waste management policy to ensure all businesses have the necessary services available to them.”
Mr Mulcahy said it was hoped most businesses understood that recycling services were a cost-effective option compared to disposing of everything into a general waste bin.
“Our team delivered 60 sorting bins to businesses to help them manage and separate recyclable waste from non-recyclable waste,” he said.
“A survey of the businesses including some receiving the sorting bins showed that 72 per cent of the surveyed businesses made great improvements in the amount of recyclable material removed from the waste stream.
“We congratulate these businesses for embracing recycling and showing others what can be done.”
Mr Mulcahy said food retail businesses improved their recycling habits the most during the project.
“While industrial premises had the lowest rates of recycling and showed the greatest opportunity for change,” he said.
“Although time consuming to make individual visits to businesses, the Getting Burdekin Business Busy Recycling project was successful in meeting aims of the North Queensland Waste Reduction and Recycling Plan 2014-2024 to minimise and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill within our region.
“Whilst individual businesses can benefit from reducing their cost of waste disposal, the community will benefit in the longer term as a result of reducing cost to landfill infrastructure.
“It is the small improvements individuals can make that will make the difference in the long term.”
Mr Mulcahy said the Getting Burdekin Business Busy Recycling project would not have been completed without a grant from the Australian Packaging Covenant and Department of Environment and Heritage Protection.
“The Australian Packaging Covenant and EHP together provided $15,300 in funding that provided sorting bins and advertising and printing of resources such as bin stickers, posters, brochures and signs,” he said.
Any business wanting assistance on waste and recycling services can contact our team on 4783 9800. Further information on recycling also can be found on Council’s website.