With Keep Australia Beautiful Week 2010 starting next Monday, 23 August, there’s really no time like the present to focus on the simple things we can each do in our daily lives to reduce the negative impacts we humans are having on our environment.
This year’s event is focusing on public place recycling to help reduce litter on our streets and, for those of us who live and work on the coast, on our beaches, coastal reserves, caravan parks and the like.
Did you know that of the 43.5 million tonnes of waste we Australians produce every year, just over half is recycled while the other half (around 21 million tonnes) still goes to landfill? Did you also know that, although we’re very good at recycling our household waste, we’re not so good at recycling when we’re out and about away from home? This is where public place recycling comes in.
Rather than sending our empty drink bottles, cans, food containers and other recyclable items straight to landfill by consigning them to rubbish bins (or worse, not binning them at all!), from here on in we should each make every effort to recycle them by using public place recycling bins or, if these are unavailable, by taking them home for recycling. How hard can that be?
The Great Ocean Road Coast Committee has for some years now been working to encourage beachgoers, foreshore users and campers to dispose of their waste appropriately by providing recycling bins in our caravan parks and coastal reserves.
Through our involvement in groups such as the Barwon Regional Waste Management Group and participation in programs such as Waste Wise and Resource Smart, we are also endeavouring to improve our own practices and to educate others by spreading the word (including through this blog).
At the end of the day however, it all comes down to you and your behaviour. What do you do, for example, when you’re enjoying a break at the beach? Do you recycle your recyclables and bin your non-recyclables? Or do you leave them behind for other people to swim in? (Now, if everyone did that, then you have probably been swimming in rubbish too!)
Check out the Keep Australia Beautiful Week website for more information, including tips and resources to help ensure you are recycling right, and to find out what your rubbish is being ‘reincarnated’ into. After all, keeping beautiful starts with you.