Save the world ...start at home

As Australia is the highest greenhouse gas polluter in the world and one of the biggest producers of waste per capita, our lifestyle is taking its toll on our environment. About a fifth of Australia’s annual 550 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions is generated by households – that equals around 14 tonnes per house. Each home also sends almost 980 kilograms of waste to landfill each year, despite that up to 80 per cent of what we throw away can be reused or recycled.

Keep Australia Beautiful (KAB) is inviting all Australians to get involved in Keep Australia Beautiful Week, which runs from Monday 27 August 2007 to Sunday 2 September. With the theme, ‘Save the World. Start at Home’, Councils are invited to participate in one or more of the official KAB week activities, which will help protect the environment with simple and practical measures.

The official activities are as follows.

Round them up and hand them in

Over 16 million used mobiles are stashed away in cupboards and drawers across Australia. Some contain materials that could harm the environment if they end up in landfill. More than 90 per cent of the plastic and metal in mobile phones can be recovered and recycled. Councils can help round up these unused and broken phones for recycling by organising and promoting a local MobileMuster during KAB Week. MobileMuster will provide free collection bins, promotional tools and a free pick up or exchange service.

Change a light for a brighter future

Councils can also encourage residents to replace two standard light globes with two compact fluorescent (CFL) globes. This would be the same as taking over 200,000 cars off the road each year. It would also save enough energy to power more than 100,000 Australian homes for an entire year.

Refill and save

About 1,500 tonnes of toner cartridges are sent to landfill in Australia each year, with a laser cartridge taking up to 450 years to decompose. Each empty printer cartridge can be refilled up to six times, saving money and helping the environment. Councils are able to keep their offices’ empty printer cartridges out of landfill by organising and/or promoting a Cartridge World refill and recycling program. Recycling boxes can be provided to your Council office by your local Cartridge World store.

Litter free challenge

Australia is one of the highest producers of waste in the world. Up to 80 per cent of what households throw away can be reused or recycled. Why not issue a litter free challenge to your local community or promote your recycling and other environmental initiatives to your residents. Template press releases and other information will be available on the KAB website by the end of June to help Councils galvanise their office, local schools, businesses and households into action.

If all Australians started by helping to divert organic materials from the waste stream, this could reduce Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by around three per cent a year .

For further information about Keep Australia Beautiful Week, or to register to get involved, please visit www.startathome.com.au