Photo by Wesley Fryer
In a time where there is a never-ending list of things to purchase, we’re often left with plenty of new goodies, but also plenty of waste.
While new and shiny purchases are all well and good, do you ever stop and think about where all your rubbish ends up?
Unfortunately, for those living anywhere from Wanneroo to Victoria Park, your rubbish more than likely ends up at the Tamala Park waste facility.
With over 200,000 tonnes of waste deposited each year, it’s quite probable that your rubbish is buried somewhere within the 4.2km² area of Tamala Park.
The facility is home to waste from seven local councils in the surrounding areas and unfortunately, it’s life as a rubbish tip is almost up.
With the facility having less than a decade left before it becomes full-to-the-brim and unusable for landfill, you would think that local and state governments had sorted out a new facility for our rubbish?
According to Mindarie Regional Council education manager, Geoff Atkinson, there are “no plans” to open another facility like Tamala Park in the future.
So, the question now becomes; where is all our rubbish going to end up?
Regrettably, Western Australians could be in for a very smelly future, as there is currently no definitive answer to the waste disposal questions.
In an attempt to find out about possible solutions to our waste disposal problem NewsVineWA contacted WA Minister for Environment, Stephen Dawson, but he declined to comment.
This is surprising, considering how important our environment is, for no comment to be made speaks volumes about how neglected this issue really is.
Don’t start blocking your nostrils or losing hope just yet.
Just because there isn’t going to be another Tamala Park, doesn’t mean our rubbish will start piling up on the streets.
Atkinson revealed that although the facility’s life is ending shortly, Mindarie Regional Council has plenty of plans in place to tackle WA’s upcoming waste issues .
“We are working toward their being a minimal requirement for landfill by the time it comes for Tamala Park to close. Exactly what will happen at the time of closure will depend on when this occurs and what our recovery position for materials sits as.
“Tamala Park is likely to remain open as a transfer station [for people to drop off their rubbish] and also as a REUSE shop and recycling drop off facility,” Atkinson said.
Mindarie Regional Council’s plans have been backed by the WA Government, which has recently released a waste strategy concluding in 2030, with a focus on making WA a circular economy and looking at waste as a resource, rather than something to simply be disposed of.
A circular economy, under the new plan, aims to promote the reuse and recycle-ability of everyday products.
“It’s an exciting time in waste at the moment. Lots of things are happening on the local level.
“Things such as banning single use plastics, implementing a container deposit scheme (commencing in 2020), improving recycling rates, waste-to-energy initiatives and keeping materials in circulation, rather than destroying them, will all assist in moving towards a circular economy,” Atkinson said.
With education believed to be the key factor in slowing our waste output, Atkinson and Mindarie Regional Council have already begun educating Western Australians about their wastage and the endless possibilities of recycling.
“It is anticipated that landfilling rates will drop significantly in the coming years as more education and diversion takes place,” Atkinson said.
Along with stopping a smelly future, a circular economy and the lack of future landfill sites is great news for the environment.
In addition to the 30-year plan, the State Government has assured that no new landfills will be created along the Swan Coastal Plain and minimal landfill sites are created in rural areas.
With plenty of strategies and plans being put in place, Atkinson stressed that the ball is now in citizens’ hands.
“There are lots of simple things you can do [to reduce your waste output].
“You don’t have to do everything, but we encourage people to try to reduce their use of something,” Atkinson said.
WAYS YOU CAN REDUCE YOUR WASTE OUTPUT
Reduce your consumption.
Avoid excess packaging and single use items (plastic in particular).
Use reusable items (plates, cutlery, cups, drink bottles etc.).
Ensure you recycle your waste correctly
Use the container deposit scheme (once it is implemented)
Start a worm farm or compost your food scraps and garden waste.
Buy second-hand goods.
Repair things rather than destroying them.
With a foundation in place and plenty of discussion going on between all levels of government and the community, WA’s waste future is at a crossroads and it’s up to us to make it a successful one.