part of the solution
portland community gets on board to boost recycling rates
The results are in and Alcoa’s partnership in Portland, Victoria, to help boost community recycling rates has proved a success in its first year.
In 2010, the Western Victorian Public Place Recycling Project saw the installation of best practice recycling infrastructure in parks, recreational areas and main streets.
Known more commonly as the ‘Don’t waste it. RECYCLE IT’ project, the initiative has achieved its target outcome of capturing at least 40% of the litter stream from the locations where recycling bins were placed - that’s 40% less rubbish going to landfill which is instead being recycled.
The project is an initiative of five organisations: Alcoa Foundation, Sustainability Victoria, the Waste REDUCTION Group, Glenelg Shire and the Portland Leisure and Aquatic Centre. The Alcoa Foundation funded the recycling infrastructure via a US $86,000 grant.
The recycling infrastructure was installed at:
- Portland Leisure and Aquatic Centre (Glenelg Shire Council);
- Camperdown main streetscape: Finlay Avenue (Corangamite Shire Council);
- CBD and local parkland: Village Green and Martin’s Point in Port Fairy (Moyne Shire Council); and
- CBD and parkland: Fitzpatrick Gardens and Brown Street in Hamilton (Southern Grampians Shire Council).
Portland South Primary School students and other members of the public joined in to help launch the recycling bins at the Portland Leisure and Aquatic Centre. Five dual waste/recycling stations were installed inside the Centre, plus a further six dual stations installed in the outdoor pool areas.
Pre-campaign bin inspections indicated installing recycling infrastructure could capture an estimated 23.34 kilograms each week, but inspections this year have revealed significantly larger amounts are being recycled during peak periods at the facility.
In the January holiday season, an estimated 36.44 kilograms of recyclables per week were being diverted from landfill. While an inspection in March, conducted during swimming carnival season, has shown that during high-usage periods at the Centre around 95.52 kilograms can be recycled each week.
General Manager Manufacturing Victorian Operations and Portland Aluminium Location Manager John Osborne said: “This partnership is making a lasting difference at a grass roots level – there is now no doubt that these sorts of programs work in teaching the community to live more sustainably and helping the environment.”
“Most people are great at recycling in their own homes, but it can be harder to recycle when you’re out and about because facilities just are not generally available.
“With this project we’ve aimed to somewhat overcome this challenge in the areas where we operate in Victoria and I hope our example will lead the way in inspiring other Australian regions to consider similar projects. That would be a great outcome.
“I want to thank the community of Portland for getting on board with this project. I’m very proud of what we’ve achieved together.”
In Camperdown, bin inspections have revealed that project has contributed to a 55% reduction in materials to landfill. Based on recent bin inspections, the new infrastructure along Finlay Avenue has the potential to divert 1.15 tonnes of recyclable materials from landfill each year, which exceeds initial projected diversion rates of one tonne.
The encouraging results come as the Alcoa Foundation’s new Green Works sustainability initiative gets underway. Green Works runs April through June and is aimed at encouraging Alcoa employees and the community to make a positive difference on the environment.
The Western Victorian Public Place Recycling Project also operates in the Surf Coast and Geelong regions near our Point Henry and Anglesea operations.
working with greening australia and the local Indigenous community
Five members of the local Wathaurong (Indigenous) community in Geelong, near our Point Henry operations, have recently started a Certificate 1 in Conservation and Land Management, as part of Alcoa of Australia and Greening Australia’s award winning Moolapio project.
From the Wathaurong language meaning ‘sandy place of trees’, Moolapio is focused on 500 hundred hectares of Alcoa’s land around Point Henry. The project began in 2005 when Alcoa outlined a vision that: “The land owned and operated by Alcoa in the Point Henry region is an area of outstanding conservation, education, research and recreational value.”
Moolapio is just one part of our partnership with 29 year conservation partner Greening Australia. Together we developed, and continue to implement, a management plan to conserve, enhance and restore the flora and fauna of the area.
With critical funding from the Federal Government’s Caring for our Country fund, part of our Moolapio goal of community engagement and education continues. This is the second year Alcoa has offered this opportunity, with four participants also gaining the Certificate in 2010.
The three month course will ensure the five mature-age students receive a recognised and accredited certificate that provides them with real and transferable skills, preparing them for the workforce.
Almost all of the learning is based outside. Students are attending the Moolapio site on a weekly basis and assisting Greening Australia staff with their maintenance of the on-site Seed Production Facility, collecting seed, removing Boxthorn and have been involved in revegetation and planting activities as part of the Autumn planting calendar.
To read more about Alcoa and the Alcoa Foundation’s signature national partnership with Greening Australia, click here.
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