By Julianne de Souza
Clubs have a responsibility to set a positive example to the wider community. Aiming to reduce your club’s carbon footprint will not only help the environment, but also save money and strengthen your club community.
Shifting towards being an environmentally friendly club can often seem like a mammoth undertaking. If you’ve ever found yourself thinking ‘What difference could our small club make in the grand scheme of things?’, you’re not alone. However, it’s important to remember that when it comes to the environment, every little thing counts. Simply being mindful of your club’s habits and keeping an eye out for new and innovative ways to be more sustainable can go a long way.
You may think that by now, most people would possess a sound understanding of the three Rs (reduce, reuse, recycle), but the truth is that the latter can be slightly more complex than expected. One common point of confusion is what to do with soft plastics, such as plastic bags, bubble wrap, and many food wrappers and packets. Soft plastics cannot be placed in your recycling bin as they prevent the machinery in recycling facilities from working properly. However, rather than simply throwing them in your general waste bin, collect your soft plastics over time and drop them off at a REDcycle collection bin. These can be found in many Coles and Woolworths supermarkets.
Another common recycling slip-up is not knowing what to do with bottle caps and lids. Caps and lids should always be separated from their bottles or containers before being placed in the recycling bin. A handy tip is to collect your small bottle caps and lids and place them in a can or container of the same material; for example, place all of your aluminium caps in an aluminium can, so on and so forth. This ensures that they get sorted into the correct category at the recycling facilities.
Disposing of your rubbish after a takeaway meal can also be confusing. When it comes to things such as pizza boxes and takeaway paper bags, a little bit of grease is fine. However, if there is a lot, simply tear off the greasy part to throw in the general waste bin and dispose of the clean part in the recycling bin. Lastly, is your suburb participating in the Three Bin System? If so, make sure you’re across what can be placed in your general waste, recycling, and garden organics bin. It may seem like a hassle at the beginning, but we guarantee that it won’t be long before separating your food waste will feel like second nature.
Participate in the Containers for Change recycling initiative
There’s not long now until Containers for Change, our new statewide container deposit scheme, launches on the 1st of October. Containers for Change is sure to have a profoundly positive impact on our state, not only drastically reducing litter and landfill but also creating jobs and providing a range of opportunities and benefits for community organisations.
The scheme will allow you to cash in eligible drink containers for a 10-cent refund per container. There will be hundreds of registered Refund Points where you can drop off your eligible containers, many of which will be operated by local community groups and social enterprises. For a list of which containers are eligible, head to the Containers for Change site.
At the Refund Points, the organisation in charge will collect, count and sort your containers, pay your refund, and prepare the materials to be transported to a processor. Alternatively, you can choose to drop off your eligible containers at a Donation Point, meaning your refund will be donated to the organisation who is operating that particular Donation Point.
In order for your club to be eligible for refunds, you must register for a Scheme ID, which you can do at the Containers for Change website.
Support other local community organisations
Clubs WA’s latest Community Partner, Greenbatch, is one organisation which will be operating its own Refund Points. Greenbatch is a community-based plastic waste recycling not-for-profit organisation. It was founded by Darren Lomman in 2017 as a result of the shocking statistic that by 2050, it is estimated that there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans.
Greenbatch’s mission is to engage, educate and empower Western Australians to reduce plastic pollution and give waste plastic a new life. Its dedicated recycling education facility is located in Mount Claremont, and there are also a number of Public Community Collection Hubs around Perth where people can drop off their recycling. Bottles collected in Greenbatch bins are processed and used in research to create filament for 3D printers, among many other research and development projects.
If your club joins the Greenbatch Network under Containers for Change, bin infrastructure (such as cages, bins or trailers depending on your events and activities) will be supplied to your club premises and you can organise regular or on-demand collections of your club’s eligible containers.
For more information about acquiring Greenbatch’s services under the new scheme, or to have a Greenbatch bin at your club, head to their site.