Going green

Figures highlighting the significant rise in usage of the Hills’ green waste disposal systems appear to indicate the message about responsible waste management is working.
Organic waste disposal across the Mt Barker, Adelaide Hills and Murray Bridge councils was six times higher than the previous financial year, jumping almost 1500 tonnes.
The increase was partly credited to an increase in home gardening due to Covid-19 restrictions and better preparation for the upcoming bushfire season.
However, local governments and waste management authorities make focussed efforts to deliver education programs aimed at improving community understanding about which bins to use and why.
It seems those messages are being taken on board and that positive changes are occurring.
However, while grassroots efforts seem to be taking effect there still needs to be sweeping changes made to the national recycling system.
A dedicated Federal Ministry for Recycling should be created in order to make widespread improvements, namely outlawing non-recyclable or compostable packaging except in the most extreme of circumstances.
The fact that meats, ready-made meals and even some baked goods can still be sold in non-recyclable packaging is utterly unacceptable while there are alternatives.
The solution for businesses appears simple: find responsible packaging for your products or don’t be in business.
Taking waste to landfill comes at a tremendous cost to both ratepayers and the environment. Of course, there can never be a waste-free modern society, but we can and must do a whole lot better.
These recent local figures highlight that Hills communities are taking positive steps in the right direction, but this good news must be replicated through an overarching system requiring collaboration between communities, authorities and all levels of government.
Councils will continue to run their targetted programs and the State Government took the innovative step to ban the sale of single-use plastics from next year.
But without the Federal Government taking the lead the changes will be small when they need to be massive.