Public Place Recycling Audits 2015

Audit BinsPublic place recycling and waste systems (PPR), which were installed in 2013 throughout north east Victoria, were recently audited with the assistance of grant funding from Sustainability Victoria.

Overall the results showed some pleasing trends, demonstrating that these PPR systems do in fact work. Results demonstrated over 70% of recyclables are recovered, which equates to the region diverting over 40% of materials deposited in these public place systems from landfill.

The majority of the PPR systems which were audited were installed in high use areas such as: recreation reserves, parks, sporting grounds and streetscape areas. The audit conducted by EC Sustainable was designed to establish a regional baseline in order to help inform and support resource recovery and litter reduction.

Kevin Morgan, the Managing Director of EC Sustainable, advises that the region is doing well.  Mr Morgan stated “this is a very strong performance compared to the average performance of regional areas across Australia”.

However there is still more that could be done. Kim Mueller, Engagement & Project Manager, North East WRRG said “potentially another 17% of material could be diverted from landfill if all recyclables were recovered at these installation points. So it’s a matter of reinforcing what can be recycled so that those materials don’t end up in the waste bins”.

Similarly, 15% of what was recorded in the recycling bins was classified as contamination, which included food, food in recyclable containers and soft plastics such as plastic bags and plastic film. Kim said “most users of public place bins want to do the right thing and with further programs targeting signage, messaging and accessibility we hope to see an increase in the diversion of materials from landfill”.

The data further identifies key areas for improvement which will assist the group and its partners in dealing with the challenges of recovering resources in public places and targeting future programs.

Some of these areas will focus on:

  • Recyclables in the waste stream
  • PPR systems located in parks which have the most potential for improvement
  • Further education around particular materials which can be recycled such as paper/cardboard (newspapers, juice boxes) , glass and rigid plastic containers (take away containers, soft drink bottles and yogurt containers).

The North East WRRG along with their partners in local Councils and Alpine Resorts now have the data to verify usage patterns, as well assess the effectiveness of the systems.

PHOTOS BELOW: January 2015 – The audit team from EC Sustainable undertake the sorting and weighing of public place recycling and waste bins in Wangaratta.