On Tuesday 10 December, members of the Waste Authority donned high-visibility vests to visit four waste management facilities around the Perth metropolitan area.
First on the agenda was the Southern Metropolitan Regional Council’s Regional Resource Recovery Centre in Canning Vale.
The first of its kind in WA, the site is made up of three resource recovery facilities, and processes waste through a number of streams.
Standing on strategically placed observation platforms, we watched organic waste being processed into compost; paper, plastics, glass and metals being sorted for recovery; and green waste being collected to turn into mulch.
Next up we visited the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council’s (EMRC) Resource Recovery Park in Hazelmere. After a warm introduction by the EMRC CEO, Marcus Geisler, we toured the site, which is home to the state’s first mattress and timber recycling operations. Navigating multi-coloured piles of woodchips, we heard about how pallets, packaging, crates, and off-cuts are being repurposed for use in the livestock industry, among others.
From woodchips to re-forested hills, we then drove to the Red Hill Waste Management Facility, also operated by the EMRC. The facility processes six member councils’ waste, using modern techniques and principles of landfill design and operation. Education is a key priority of the EMRC, and Jo, one of their very enthusiastic Education Officers, talked us through some of the initiatives and fun activities used to teach kids and the community about better waste management.
The final leg of the journey involved visiting the West Metro Recycling Centre, which services a number of Perth’s western suburbs. As a transfer station, the facility accepts a variety of recyclable and non-recyclable items which it aggregates and compacts into silos which are transferred to other sites for appropriate handling. We learned about the centre’s 10-year strategic plan, and some more novel approaches to waste management, such as an innovative vergeside collection service planned for the near future.
The day was a fantastic reminder of the real-world importance of the collective efforts by regional councils, industry, government and the Waste Authority to make an impact on the waste we generate and how we manage and recover resources.