Clean Up Australia Day 2023
Singleton residents stepped up to clean up this Clean Up Australia Day!
On the 5th March, community champions came together voluntarily at Burdekin Park, where they collected their gloves, bags and litter pickers and set off to target litter hotspots across downtown Singleton.
Their collective efforts saw a total of 120kgs of litter (20 bags!) removed from the local environment, of which 33% was able to be successfully diverted from landfill for recycling. Incredibly, just under 50% of participants were under the age of 15!
Following their efforts, participants were invited to hang about and enjoy a fun filled morning filled with jumping castles, inflatable obstacle courses, face painting fairies and an endless supply of ice poles! These was even a compost giveaway for the adults!
What types of litter did we collect most?
There were three types of litter identified as significant waste problems in the local environment, including:
- Fast food and other single-use food packaging
- Plastic bottles and aluminum cans
- Vaping and cigarette products and packaging
* Images of litter audit collected at Singleton's Clean Up Australia Day 2023 initiative by Bonnie Wilson
These products are designed to be single-use and their life cycle is short and linear – meaning they are purchased, used and then disposed of. As a result, the valuable resources used to create these products are entirely wasted.
Among those most concerning is vaping devices. Not only do these products have significant health implications, but they also present serious environmental hazards. Due to the complex components of these products (including computer circuits, plastics, metals and lithium-ion batteries) and the way in which they are manufactured, even when disposed of appropriately these devises introduce toxic chemicals into the environment.
These items are also known to be combustible – introducing the risk of fire. This could occur in the environment where they have been discarded (much like flicking cigarette butts), in waste service trucks in transit to waste management and in our waste management facility – posing a threat to people, homes, important services and infrastructure.
For further information on the harmful environmental effects of vaping, please click here.
What can I do to keep litter out of the environment?
It is important to note that it is the responsibility of the consumer (the person that purchases the item) to dispose of the waste generated by their purchase and that littering or simply dumping waste items is inappropriate and in fact illegal.
There are many ways you can contribute to litter and waste reduction, including:
- Refuse - retiring consumption habits entirely E.g. quitting smoking/vaping, adopting the use of reusable drink bottles and coffee cups, meal prepping, cultivating produce in a home veggie garden.
- Reduce - changing consumption habits E.g. smoking/vaping less, purchasing takeout less, using reusable produce bags instead of singlet use plastic ones
- Reuse - extending the life of waste resources E.g. upcycling, finding ways to use recyclables as creative resources, repair broken objects instead of replacing them.
- Recycle - diverting resources from landfill E.g. get to know the ARL on your packaging, set up a waste bin system at home, get to know what resources you can recycle locally - not only in your kerbside service, but at the Community Recycling Centre and Container Deposit hubs.
- Dispose - do the right thing E.g. dispose of waste appropriately, where no bins are available ensure waste you generate goes home with you or to a bin near by, report instances of illegal dumping and littering.
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