Pilot project repurposes kerbside clean-up waste

A BOLD new environmental pilot project being tested in the Illawarra is designed to direct household kerbside cleanup waste away from landfill while also raising funds for charity.

The Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation’s (ISJO) First pass collection pilot project is the next step in an award-winning benchmarking program. It aims to broaden understanding of the collection of household bulky waste and, ultimately, divert resources from landfill.

Until today (Thursday, March 11, 2021) ISJO staff are completing a first-pass collection of kerbside items booked for removal through the Wollongong City Council On-Call Household Clean-up service.

ISJO was established in 2018 to bring together all parts of the Illawarra Shoalhaven region to deliver on a shared regional narrative. ISJO leads regional priorities and initiatives through forming collaborative relationships and partnerships; as well as building capacity within and across its four member councils: Wollongong City Council, Shellharbour City Council, Kiama Municipal Council and Shoalhaven City Council. As a member-based organisation, ISJO operates with an entrepreneurial and collaborative mindset to reduce duplication across its member councils.

As well as learning more about the types of items put out for collection, the program will determine their suitability for reuse or repurposing, and in doing so remove them from waste streams.

As part of the program, items that can be repurposed will be removed, refurbished by volunteers on behalf of the charity group Green Connect, and sold through a charity sale weekend to be held at the end of March.

ISJO Regional Waste Program Manager Yvette Barrs said 500 collections each week were being targeted during the pilot program.

“Our early work on this program in conjunction with Wollongong City Council and the University of Wollongong identified the opportunities available to reduce the stream of household cleanup waste going into landfill and now we are putting that to the test,” she said.

“We’ve recovered items such as occasional chairs, side tables, dining suites, patio furniture, children’s play furniture, home décor and plant stands earmarked for disposal which can be repurposed for future use.

“Once the items have been renewed by volunteers they will be sold and the money raised will be used by Green Connect to support their work with young people and former refugees.

“Ultimately, our measure of success for this pilot project is to have zero items recovered from the collections sent to landfill and, based on the quality and reuse potential of the items we have recovered, we are confident in our ability to deliver that outcome.”

ISJO Waste Projects and Education Coordinator Nicole Parsons said the program, honoured for its first stage at the LGNSW Excellence in Environment Awards last year, was already proving its merits.

“The quality and quantity of recovered items that have been removed from kerbside waste collections so far indicate the ongoing potential for real reductions in landfill, particularly if the pilot project is adopted more broadly across the country in the future,” she said.

“Now we need to understand the public appetite for rehousing these items and our charity sale will show us if this is a program that has ongoing value.”

The first pass collection pilot project will continue until today (March 11).

The charity sale weekend will run from March 27-28, 2021. The sale hours are from 9am to 5pm on Saturday, and from 10am to 5pm on Sunday. It will be held at Shop 1B, 281 Crown Street, Wollongong (next to Spotlight).

All proceeds from the sale weekend will support Green Connect in its work with young people and former refugees.

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About Mick Roberts

A journalist, writer and historian, Mick Roberts specialises in Australian cultural history, particularly associated with the Australian hotel and liquor industry. Mick has had an interest in revealing the colourful story of Australian pubs and associated industries for over 30 years. He is working on a comprehensive history of the hotel and liquor industry in the Illawarra region of NSW. Besides writing a number of history books, Mick managed several community newspapers. He has been editor of the Wollongong Northern News, The Bulli Times, The Northern Times, The Northern Leader and The Local - all located in the Wollongong region. As a journalist he has worked for Rural Press, Cumberland (News Limited), the Sydney city newspaper, City News, and Torch Publications based in Canterbury Bankstown, NSW.


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