Yesterday I took a pause on my work day to attend a Darebin Council Meeting. I’ve become obsessed with the recycling crisis and the fact that all recycling collected in the normal yellow bins in Darebin is going straight to landfill. Images of mountains of waste haunt my idle brain every day. I want to do something and I know many of you do as well. A friend suggested I attend a Council Meeting, so here’s everything I learned:
- Anyone can attend a Darebin Council meeting! I was so nervous but it was fine. I got up in front of a whole room of people and asked my questions about the recycling crisis. The next meeting is September 23 at Preston Town Hall. Everyone was super nice and the Mayor and Councillors all helped enthusiastically answer my questions.
- Mayor Sue Rennie said the Council is taking part in regular meetings with the State Government to address the crisis – which mainly involves looking for a facility to process our recycling after the collapse of SKM. They were the first government body in the world to announce a Climate Emergency back in 2016. They need our help and especially the cooperation of the State Government to cause any sustainable change.
4. Recycling contamination (dirty containers or non-recyclable items) is one of the biggest roadblocks in successful recycling. Gone are the days where we can chuck anything that seems recyclable in the bin without cleaning it (guilty!). We need to educate ourselves on what can actually go in there and do our due diligence to clean it out.
5. The Council is running an extensive education campaign to help people know what to do and how to participate, which frankly I feel needs a lot of work. Maybe we can help them!
6. The Council is rolling out a food waste collection initiative which should be on board by December 2019. Did you know that food waste accounts for about 35% of our household waste every week? We can get on board early and reduce that number massively by starting a home compost bin. The Council is offering a new compost or bokashi bin for 70% off RRP.
7. The CEO of Darebin, Sue Wilkinson, told me that she is extremely keen to hear new ideas and to email her directly at email@example.com if you have anything to discuss.
I was so glad I took the time to attend this meeting. It felt empowering to participate in a small way considering everything going on in the world these days. I encourage you to go to the next one if you have anything to raise. Please also join us at the Global Climate Strike March on Sept 20. If you have anything to add, suggestions, or just want to talk about how fucked up the recycling crisis is please comment or get in touch.