Issue 16
Monday, 12 September 2016
Charles Darwin University
E-news
Ms O’Leary: “The environmental gains of recycling in Alice Springs outweigh the costs”
Ms O’Leary: “The environmental gains of recycling in Alice Springs outweigh the costs”

Kerbside recycling ‘viable in Alice'

By Patrick Nelson

A Charles Darwin University postgraduate student is calling on the Alice Springs Town Council to consider introducing a kerbside recycling service, which she says will reduce landfill in the Red Centre by up to 3400 tonnes a year.

Masters student Rachel O’Leary said the results of her seven-year study showed that kerbside recycling was viable in Alice Springs from an environmental perspective.

“About 33 per cent of the waste that is discarded by households is recyclable and a further 38 per cent is compostable,” Rachel said.

“A three-bin system that separately collects food and garden waste, general recyclables, and a smaller waste bin, would be an excellent starting point.”

She identified four priority materials that would best serve as the focus of such a service: composting food and garden waste; glass; paper and cardboard; and plastics.

“With the right infrastructure, we could compost food and garden waste, and recycle glass in Alice Springs, but other materials would need to be processed interstate.”

Rachel said she conducted a series of household waste audits to estimate recyclable yields, and interviewed local businesses about their attitudes towards waste and recycling.

“I also developed a model to calculate transport energy costs, and evaluated the environmental costs and benefits of a kerbside service.

“Even when you factor-in the environmental costs of transportation, a kerbside recycling service would be beneficial.

“We can be confident that the environmental gains of recycling in Alice Springs outweigh the costs and that by implementing such a service would help government achieve its target of reducing the Territory’s waste to landfill by 50 per cent by 2020.”

She will present her report “Better solid waste management options for Alice Springs: recycling in remote areas” on Friday, September 16 at 12.30pm in CDU’s Higher Education theatre, Alice Springs campus. The presentation is free and open to the public.