Recycling & Waste Disposal
Recycle it's Vital! Handy hints on recycling in Rottnest Island!
In November 2006, the Rottnest Island Authority implemented a revised waste management strategy resulting in general waste streams no longer being disposed of at the Island landfill site. All rubbish and recyclables are now sent off the Island to be processed at the South Metropolitan Regional Council (SMRC) resource recovery centre in Canning Vale. This is the most environmentally and economically sustainable option for waste generated on the Island and ensures that Rottnest Island’s pristine environment is conserved.
The two stream waste system now operating on the Island is similar to what is occurring in local councils, with the only difference being that the rubbish is composted at the SMRC plant. This is why it is doubly important to make sure that rubbish and recyclables are sorted correctly as recyclables in the rubbish stream are considered contamination and vice versa.
Grant and government funding contributed $1.5 million to implement the revised waste management strategy. With the ultimate goal being increased diversion from landfill from 53% to a maximum of 92% (assuming an 85% recovery rate is achieved at the SMRC facility) and provide a model of best practice to the world.
A new transfer station constructed at the site of the existing landfill was commissioned in September 2006. It provides a site for compacting and storage of all waste and recyclables for transport by barge to the mainland for further processing and resource recovery. New trucks were purchased including two new collection vehicles and a hook lift truck to move the 30 m3 bulk bins to and from the barge.
Recycling bins along with rubbish bins are now provided in each accommodation unit and 105 public recycling stations throughout the island have been upgraded with new bins and stickers.
In addition, several other initiatives have been undertaken in order to reduce waste:
- Plastic film from pallets arriving on the Island is recycled through AMCOR.
- All commercial business now have access to cardboard balers.
- Battery recycling stations have been put in the wellness centre and the main staff office.
- All florescent tubes are separated from general waste and sent to Advanced Recycling for safe resource recovery and disposal.
- Hard plastics e.g. old cray pots and chairs are recycled through Ruggies Recycling with the proceeds going to PMH Foundation.
Pre November 2006
In 1996 Rottnest Island introduced a range of new initiatives, including the first public place recycling program in Western Australia, and subsequently a composting process for organic materials at the Island’s landfill. It included over 70 recycling stations throughout the Island for the separation of glass, plastic and aluminium. These were sorted and processed on the Island to a commercial recycling standard and barged off the Island.
Commercial premises were also provided with opportunities to recycle those materials referred to previously, plus cardboard, cooking oil and food waste.
A composting process was commenced for food waste, biosolids and cardboard. However, due to concerns regarding test results by the Department of Health, the composting material was contained within the landfill area.
The remainder of the waste, not separated for recycling or composing, was buried in an unlined landfill cell on the Island. Evidence of the formation of nutrient leachate was recorded at this site, presenting a possible environmental hazard.
The Western Australian Department of Environmental Protection advised the Rottnest Island Authority that no further landfill cells will be allowed to be developed without a liner being provided. It was anticipated that the cost of the liner and leachate collection would be approximately $700,000.
In light of this information the RIA contracted A Prince Consulting to assess the situation and revise the strategy, which has now been implemented.