Sort and Save: A Community Recycling Project

19 02 2013

In the City of Wodonga, Victoria, they are not only serious about recycling but also community engagement and partnerships. With this in mind they set up a new recycling imitative; Sort and Save.

The result was a community based recycling project that has changed the way Wodonga Council delivers its waste management service. Sort and Save is an example of how innovative management practices not only improve service delivery but also empower the whole community to adopt more efficient waste management habits.

Originally, the project was tabled as an answer to the city’s costly hard waste problems. However, through problem solving and community discussion, it was modified to offer creative, sustainable solutions to equally pressing social and economic issues within Wodonga. It is a project anchored in ongoing community partnerships, empowering those involved, particularly marginalised people, and is already showing many positive social, economic and environmental benefits. Sort and Save, while managed by Wodonga Council, involves partnerships with four local community organisations.

The strength of Sort and Save lies in the commitment of these partners to finding innovative ways of doing things better, smarter and more productively, while reducing everyday environmental impacts. Corrections Victoria, Recovery GAME ( ), Kalianna ( ) Enterprises and Beechworth Correctional Centre work alongside Wodonga Council to reduce, reuse and recycle goods received at the Wodonga Council Waste Transfer Station. The project provides a workplace for the long-term unemployed, skills development for marginalised members of the community, the reuse/resale of previously unwanted goods and a practical exercise in educating the general public in sustainable, environmentally sound waste management.

With its own share of marginalised peoples, high local unemployment as well as people wanting to do positive things for the environment, is the ‘Sort and Save’ type initiative something Mandurah could be looking at?

Cr Rhys Williams
Agree? Disagree? Make a comment?



One response

21 02 2013
Deidre In Interwebland

At the risk of sounding like a stuck record… YES! Isn’t Mandurah’s hard waste collection season depressing! Soooo much waste.
Here is another success story of a community aiming for “zero waste to landfill” and making a huge difference to the quality of their local environment, including their beautiful estuary. Watch their movie here
I also can’t believe Mandurah doesn’t have a regular (weekly or fortnightly) organic waste collection. From my very unscientific surveying I’ve found that very few people here compost their food or garden waste. Instead they put organic waste in their rubbish bins. I’d love to find out that it gets sorted out before it goes to landfill but I suspect it doesn’t. Organic waste buried in landfill generates methane, an extremely potent greenhouse gas, plus in a place with such nutrient-poor soils this is a tragic waste of a valuable resource.
Sometimes I find myself sighing loudly and a bit grumpily when Mandurah talks about being a sustainable city. The council here does a great job with its education program and with the Sustainable Home but there is still so much work to be done, both in taking action on these issues and educating people to change their old habits.

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