Let it be said that there is a long road ahead to zero waste, but the strides taken in the last decade are getting us there... With industries rolling up their sleeves across the globe, the future looks bright for the generations ahead and that comes down to a few key factors. You don’t need to look far to find innovation, with Victorian councils leading the charge in future waste management.
Repurposing waste to Melbourne roads
In May of 2018, Close the Loop, in conjunction with Hume City Council, announced their joint venture in using plastic bags and used printer cartridges to build roads in Melbourne's North. Over five hundred thousand plastic bags and twelve thousand printer cartridges have been tested to reveal they can withstand harsh conditions and strong temperatures, presenting the Victorian government with a potential solution going forward. Tasmanian governments are also exploring this solution. Considering the plastic and cartridges would go in landfill typically, the repurposed materials blend to create a durable, yet flexible, substance that is optimal for road surfaces.
Support from leading providers
Like anything, there is more chance of uptake and progress with the support of industry leading providers. Planet Ark and Close the Loop are titans in their field, pushing the envelope in the waste management space and enlisting the support of big names and government bodies. The roads initiative costs $40,000, a rather small investment taken from a much larger state government fund designed to foster development in the recycling space. Additionally, the government is partnering with cultural bodies like NGV (National Gallery of Victoria) to create a platform and incentive for young minds to tackle the issue of waste management.
A little goes a long way
Before these initiatives are fully realised, the Australian community must contend with the current procedures in place. Kerbside collection, which has gained momentum in recent years, remains a valuable tool to control waste and collect items that are typically discarded in the wrong way. There has been some debate over whether or not you can legally take items from the kerbside for your own home. The answer? It actually depends where in Australia you live. Saving/salvaging kerbside collection items are encouraged in Brisbane, and other parts of the country suggest you try and ask permission to take these goods and leave the remaining pile in neat order once you do.
The road to zero waste is one that has many bends, but the realms of possibility are only now being discovered across Australia and beyond. With the larger strokes being finessed by leading names in sustainability and government, you can also make your own impact at home.