By Melissa Sheil
RECYCLING awkward and dangerous materials will be made easier for residents of Perth’s eastern suburbs after the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council (EMRC) received $115,775 worth of waste reduction grants last week.
More than $65,000 has been dedicated to nine new drop-off points for polystyrene and empty aerosols across the EMRC region.
The EMRC is one of 13 recipients to share the $1.54 million WasteSorted grant, with two successful applications.
EMRC Chief Executive Marcus Geisler said though these items are a common feature in household rubbish, they are notoriously difficult to dispose of carefully and ethically as neither can be placed in yellow-lidded bins and are subsequently misplaced in landfill or contaminate the rest of the recyclables.
“Empty aerosols are a household hazardous waste (HHW) that increase potential for fires in waste collection trucks, mobile recovery facilities and landfills so removing these items from regular waste reduces this risk and is considered an important safety measure,” he said.
“Expanded polystyrene has a large size to weight ratio and is very difficult to transport as it breaks apart easily, contaminating other recyclables and the environmental ecosystem around it.
“Our Waste Education Team receive a high number of enquiries about the correct disposal of both aerosols and polystyrene and people are often frustrated by the lack of options.”
Residents of Perth’s Eastern suburbs currently only have one option to dispose of their hazardous household waste – Red Hill Waste Management Facility.
Mr Geisler said one drop-off point was not ideal as some in the region had to travel up to 40km to dispose of the potentially hazardous waste.
The grant will fund the purchase of a polystyrene compactor at Red Hill as well as at least one drop-off point in each of the six EMRC member councils, each equipped with storage bins, bags and collection cages.
A portion of the funds will be allocated to Earth Carers, the EMRC’s waste education program that emphasises recycling practices and encourages waste behaviour change.
Mr Geisler believes residents of other local government areas would likely demand similarly convenient drop-off locations after EMRC implements theirs.
“Due to a current shortage of drop-off points across the whole of Perth, the promotion and anticipated popularity of the ‘Tackling a Troublesome Two’ is expected to inspire other councils and stakeholders to take action in their own jurisdictions,” he said.
Collection infrastructure is expected to be installed by April 2021.
The EMRC also received a second grant of $50,000 for training packages and programs to help WA become a nationwide leader as a circular, reusable economy.