Fourteen shopping trolleys were removed from one Cairns waterway as part of the annual Great Northern Clean Up in September. Almost 200 community volunteers removed more than a tonne of litter from riverbanks and waterways from 15 council clean-up sites.
All Australian councils must feel the same frustration when forking out for the clean-up cost of illegal dumping of rubbish. It is heartening to hear about the measures being implemented to tackle the problem creatively.

Getting in early
Ten schools across Gladstone, Agnes Water and Boyne Tannum are currently participating in the Litter Education and Awareness Project (LEAP) facilitated by Gladstone Regional Council. The LEAP Program provides opportunities for students to learn about stormwater pollution, environmental conservation, litter source reduction and to create awareness of what kind of waste is entering our region’s waterways.

Increasing access
The Mildura region has been part of a successful bid for inclusion in the Victorian Government’s Neighbourhood Battery Initiative, which will identify potential locations for community batteries in their municipality.

Providing alternatives
Cash will be paid to parents who switch to reusable nappies, under a rebate program from the City of Hobart. Disposable nappies make up around 5 percent of all residential waste to landfill in Hobart, equating to approximately 466 tonnes – or the equivalent of 100 full
garbage trucks – each year. They are the fourth most prevalent material in Hobart’s residential waste, behind food waste, plastic packaging, and textiles.

Targeted approach
Armidale Regional Council, NSW, and social housing provider Homes North will target residents in social housing for an education campaign around waste disposal and will provide more opportunities for low income earners to properly discard of bulk waste. Working on the premise that in the areas with a high volume of social housing, bulky items are often illegally dumped or people hold onto rubbish due to not having the means to go to the waste management facility.

Consistent message
Tasmanian councils are partnering with the Government to deliver a state-wide waste education and awareness initiative that will ensure consistency of messaging and incorporate key information on the proposed waste levy and Container Refund Scheme, litter and reporting measures, as well as event guides and school program resources.

Numerous other clever ways are being implemented to educate and inform residents and thereby change behaviours and reduce the incidence of illegal dumping. It’s good – creative, inclusive or encouraging rather than punitive. There will probably always be a need for the dumped rubbish removal team, but I like to see councils and communities who try to do things a bit differently. That’s how things change, one inch or one person at a time.