Remote and Island Waste Management Solutions
Lord Howe Island is a declared World Heritage site located 700 kms northeast of Sydney in the Tasman Sea. It is home to 370 permanent residents and more than 16,000 tourists each year. The island is surrounded by the world’s most southerly coral reef.
Waste Strategy Development – Funding from the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Waste Planning and Management Fund, Waste Reduction Grants, enabled APC to develop a Waste Minimisation and Management Strategy in 1997 with 30 key recommendations.
Previous Waste Disposal System – All domestic and commercial waste was burnt in a large steel cage, bulky household waste was stockpiled and burnt and food waste was separated and buried in sand dunes. Glass, aluminium cans and white goods were exported.
Waste Strategy Initiatives – The strategy recommended the introduction of a four-stream
source-separation comprising food, paper/cardboard, recyclables and residual, and a
three-stream public-place program for recycling, compostables and general waste. The NSW and Commonwealth governments co-funded the cornerstone of the program – a vertical compost unit (VCU) for the organic fraction and the establishment of a mini MRF to separate and consolidate recyclables for export. An extensive education program was developed for both the local community and visitors. Other initiatives included the banning of plastic shopping bags in June 2010, the establishment of a bulk food co-operative to reduce packaging, the introduction of a reuse centre and waste disposal fees.
Implementation – APC project-managed the strategy implementation and coordinated its launch in June 2000, which resulted in extensive national and international media coverage.
Outcome – The landfill on the island was closed and all residual waste baled for export to a host community on the mainland. Lord Howe Island achieves more than 80 per cent diversion from landfill, with an engaged and motivated community proud of their new waste management program.
Review – In 2011, APC was engaged to undertake a 10-year strategic review of the waste management program. The review identified a refined strategic framework with 48 actions to be undertaken over the next five years to ensure this community maintains its leadership and world best-practice program.