Purchasing, Consumption and Waste
As a nation, we purchase consumables at a higher rate and create more waste per person than almost any other country in the world. Alarmingly, substantial increases in the cost of waste disposal have not curbed total waste generation and the net cost of waste services, such as kerbside recycling for local government, continues to grow.
At the federal and state levels, significant efforts have been made to manage waste in line with the principles of Ecologically Sustainable Development. However; until recently, these efforts have focused largely on managing the problem once waste has already been generated. There are significant opportunities for local government to explore alternative waste management options. Such options typically operate higher up the waste hierarchy and are more cost effective than current practice, in addition to achieving greater environmental outcomes.
Moira Shire Council recognises the significant direct and indirect impacts on the natural environment through consumptive behaviour and the generation of waste, and is committed improving its waste management practices in line with the waste hierarchy. Council aims to become a leading consumer of low-impact goods in the Shire. More importantly, Council in committed to providing the support and resources needed for the community to embrace the concepts of sustainable consumption and a zero waste society.
Council supports the objectives of the Federal Government’s National Waste Policy and the State Government’s Towards Zero Waste Strategy and their targets for waste reduction, maximising resource recovery and recycling over the long-term.
Waste Management Hierarchy
One of the key principles that underpins how Council operates on a day to day basis is the waste management hierarchy, which was disseminated under the Environmental Protection Act 1970. Waste policies developed by all levels of government are based on this principle.
The waste management hierarchy depicted below demonstrates the preferred approach to waste management. Waste avoidance and waste reduction are the most sustainable form of actions to manage waste at the outset.
Waste reuse and waste recycling, including composting, are the next best option for managing waste. Using products again instead of disposing of them, and creating new materials from old without the energy expense or the environmental damage from mining for raw materials, is the preferred option.
The recovery of energy from waste is an option only when all of the more preferable waste management options have been investigated. The treatment of waste is energy intensive and a relatively poor environmental outcome for dealing with waste. The last approach and the least preferred, is the disposal of waste to landfill. Landfill is a last-choice destination only - all other options must be exhausted before disposition to landfill.
Council aims to continually improve its waste management and focus on the upper part of the waste hierarchy. This will only be achieved by developing and implementing effective waste education programs within the community.
Purchasing, Consumption and Waste Education
Moira Shire Council employs a full-time Environmental Sustainability Officer to work with residents, community groups and schools on waste education.
A wide variety of presentations and workshops are available to promote recycling and ethical waste management practices.
Council is committed to best practice waste management and has demonstrated this commitment by being involved in community awareness programs that aim to improve waste management within the community.
The Environmental Sustainability Officer and associated stakeholders offer a wide variety of presentations and workshops to promote sustainable procurement, recycling and ethical waste management practices to community groups and schools.
Types of Presentations
Purchasing, consumption and waste education presentations and workshops include the following topics:
- two bin kerbside system;
- recycling - the importance of recycling right;
- what happens to waste once it leaves the kerbside;
- waste minimisation and avoidance;
- home composting;
- buying green; and
- school sustainability days.
Sessions are interactive, fun and flexible, and can be tailored to suit the needs of your group, combine any one of the above topics or surround your specific questions about waste.
Sessions are normally 40-50 minutes, but can be as short as 20-30 minute talk to a longer two-hour workshop, depending on your needs. Additionally, full-day sustainability days can be organised for local schools.
How to Organise a Waste Education Session, Workshop or Presentation
Interested, or would like to find out more information, on our waste education services? Please contact the Moira Shire Council Environmental Sustainability Officer.