Top honours for waste team

Article image - Top honours for waste team

The Waste Education team at Western Metropolitan Regional Council in Western Australia were awarded the Environmental Action Award at the recent United Nations Association of Australia WA gala.

The Western Metropolitan Regional Council aims to make good waste practices normal and services the councils of Town of Mosman Park, Town of Cottesloe, Town of Claremont, Shire of Peppermint Grove and City of Subiaco, which are located in the western suburbs of Perth.

Waste Educator Amy Mickelberg said the Environmental Action Award was in recognition of the Earth Carers program, a free biannual course that educates residents about good waste practices.

“This award is not only a huge achievement for the team but it recognises the tremendous effort and commitment western suburbs residents have towards low-waste and sustainable living,” Ms Mickelberg said.

“The Earth Carers Course takes participants on tours of waste and recycling facilities so they can learn where their waste and recycling goes while also teaching important life skills to reduce waste generation through prevention, reduction, reuse and recycling.”

Waste Educator, Libby Eustance said recent media attention on waste has seen a surge in interest by local residents.

“The average West Australian puts around 635kg of waste in the household bin each year and we want to show the public what happens to their waste and what they can do to reduce it,” Ms Eustance said.

Ms Eustance said many participants go on to continue working in waste minimisation and develop successful programs in their own right.

“Susan Pestana is one such participant who set up a charity drive which rescues items destined to landfill and redirects them to various charity organisations around the globe,” Ms Eustance said. “So far more than 14,000 kilograms of items have been repurposed and kept out of landfill.”

Ms Pestana who lives in Claremont said the Earth Carers Course gave her the skills she needed to turn her zero waste project into a reality.

“I started out small as I was frustrated seeing so many good useable items being disposed of and ending up in landfill,” Ms Pestana said.
“Everyone can do their bit to reduce waste. If you started a conversation with your friends and family and tried to find homes for your unwanted goods you’d be surprised at just how easy it is.”

In addition to the Earth Carers courses, the Waste Education team host a range of free low-waste workshops such as home composting and worm farming, provides support to schools and makes low-waste event kits available for hire to various local events.