Tamworth Regional Council making recycling second nature for local kids

TALKING TRASH: Council waste sustainability officer Angela Dodson regularly takes her recycling lessons into schools. Photo: Gareth Gardner 141117GGC007
TALKING TRASH: Council waste sustainability officer Angela Dodson regularly takes her recycling lessons into schools. Photo: Gareth Gardner 141117GGC007

TAMWORTH Regional Council is travelling around talking trash to kids this week.

It’s all in the name of National Recycling Week with council’s waste unit giving lessons in local primary schools.

“Once you get them young, it’s just like brushing your teeth, you get that habit forming, the good choices become second nature,” waste sustainability officer Angela Dodson said.

“It’s the same with recycling, you’re getting it into their daily practices, it becomes second nature and the don’t have to think about it.”

RELATED ARTICLES:

It may seem simple to run kids through what items go in which bins in Tamworth, but Ms Dodson says the kids become teachers in their own right, taking the lessons home and giving their parents the low-down on how to recycle.

Ms Dodson said it could be challenging to make a lesson on bins exciting and engaging for kindy kids, but it imbues the local youngsters with a sense of social responsibility from an early age.

“You’re a superhero for the planet type of thing,” Ms Dodson said.

“It’s for the whole community because landfill is a community asset.

“If it fills up quickly, we need to have another one.

“Everything we can do to extend the life of the one we’ve got is great.”

While council is out pushing its sustainable recycling message in the schools, there are still “simple, silly” mistakes being made in households resulting in recyclable material ending up in landfill.

“It’s simple silly mistakes, like people putting recycling in plastic bags,” Ms Dodson said.

“It can end up in landfill.

“Sometimes we get nappies through the system, that a very unpleasant thing for the beautiful people at Challenge who sort the recycling.”

Council says the town is getting better at binning its rubbish habits when it comes to the three-pronged wheelie-bins.

Figures show local residents have been steadily improving with their recycling practices each year.

This year, so far, less than 10 per cent of the recycling residents put out for collection in their yellow-lidded wheelie-bin is contaminated with non-recyclable items.

In the last few years, the contamination rate had varied between 12 and 15 per cent.

The industry standard benchmark set by the NSW Environment Protection Authority is between eight and nine per cent.

This week, in addition to the schools educational sessions, the wider community can visit Ray Walsh House office to see the National Recycling Week display in the foyer.

It shows common household items and explains which bins they should go in as well as showcasing some ideas for reuse of items or alternative disposal options.

Earlier this week, council also ran a weaving workshop using discarded materials to create artworks which are also on display in Ray Walsh House.