Organic waste refers to material derived from once-living organisms, excluding petroleum-based materials. Improper disposal of organic waste in landfills has detrimental environmental impacts. Recognising the significance of organic waste management, Australia is taking steps towards sustainable solutions.
The Current State of Organic Waste in Australia
When we talk about organic waste in Australia, the situation is quite alarming. Just to give you an idea, during the year 2018 to 2019, Australia produced a staggering 14.3 million tonnes of organic waste. Let’s break that down a bit to understand what constitutes this waste.The organic waste we’re talking about consists of different categories. First, there are food organics – things like your leftover dinner, fruit and vegetable peelings, or the ends of bread loaves. Then, we have garden organics, which includes waste materials like grass cuttings, leaves, or branches that you prune from your trees.Apart from this, timber waste, which includes items like old wooden furniture or construction wood waste, is also a part of this huge pile of waste. And lastly, there’s something called biosolids. Now, you might be wondering what biosolids are. Well, these are nutrient-rich organic materials resulting from the treatment of sewage sludge. They might sound a bit yucky, but they are incredibly valuable as they can be used as fertiliser.Unfortunately, even though we produce so much organic waste, we aren’t doing a great job at recycling it. In fact, only about half of it, 49% to be precise, is currently being recycled. What’s more concerning is that all this organic waste, when not recycled, contributes to around 13 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year in the form of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2-e).Think of it this way – every time we toss organic waste into the general bin, we are potentially contributing to these emissions. That’s a big deal because these gases are the ones causing our planet to warm up, also known as global warming.
The Benefits of Diverting Organic Waste from Landfills
Discover how transforming everyday waste into valuable resources can bring significant benefits to our soil, economy, and job market.
Transforming organic waste into a valuable resource
Turning organic waste into something valuable is like magic. Think about this, your everyday waste like kitchen scraps or garden trimmings can be changed into useful stuff like compost, biogas, and other recycled organic products. It’s pretty cool, right?Compost is a rich, dark material that is great for the soil, helping plants to grow. It keeps the soil moist and cuts down the need for chemical fertilisers that can harm the environment. So, using compost is a win-win for us and the earth
Improving agricultural soils
And it’s not just your backyard garden that benefits from compost. When used in agriculture, compost makes the soil healthier, allowing plants to grow better and give more crops. That means farmers can produce more food with the same amount of land. Plus, healthy soil is good for the earth too. It reduces soil erosion, meaning less soil is washed or blown away, and it also helps the soil hold onto water, so less watering is needed.
Boosting the economy and creating more job opportunities
Another great thing about diverting organic waste from landfills is that it gives a boost to the economy. How? Well, it helps grow the organic waste recycling industry. This means that more jobs are created in this sector. So, not only are we reducing waste and helping the environment, but we’re also creating work opportunities for people.
These job opportunities aren’t just any old jobs, they’re skilled positions. This industry needs people who know about recycling, composting, and how to produce biogas. This can lead to diverse job opportunities in different sectors. We’re not only helping the environment but also providing a pathway for people to learn new skills and get good jobs.
The Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund
The Food Waste for Healthy Soils Fund is part of a big plan called the National Waste Policy Action Plan. This plan is like a to-do list to help solve the problem of organic waste disposal in Australia. Let’s break it down into three parts.First, the plan talks about building infrastructure. What does that mean? Well, it’s about investing money in facilities and new technologies that can handle organic waste better. Think of it as a big machine that turns waste into something useful.Next, the plan wants to start Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) collection services. That’s a fancy name for a simple idea: providing special services to collect organic waste separately from households and businesses. It’s like having a different bin for your food scraps and garden waste.Lastly, the plan sets a target: to cut the amount of organic waste we send to landfill in half by 2030. By doing this, we can decrease the harmful gases that come from waste and lessen the harm we do to the environment. This is a big goal, but it’s important for the future of our planet.
Managing Australia’s Organic Waste
Managing Australia’s organic waste is a big job, but kerbside collection services play a crucial role in handling this task effectively. Here’s how it works:There are two types of services: Garden Organics (GO) and Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO). The GO service is all about garden waste, like leaves and branches. On the other hand, FOGO services handle both food and garden organics, so it’s like a two-in-one service.The good news is, around 74% of Australians are using <a href=”https://coastalwaste.com.au/”>waste collection service to dispose of organic waste. This means we’re already doing a good job at keeping waste out of our landfills and turning it into useful resources instead.To make things even easier, there’s an interactive map. This map helps you find out if there are FOGO or GO services in your area. It’s a great tool to raise awareness and get more people to participate in waste management.
How to Divert Organic Waste from Landfill
Even as an individual person, you can play a big part in keeping organic waste out of landfills. Here are some simple steps you can take:Follow the waste hierarchy The best way to tackle waste is to reduce, reuse, and recycle. This means trying to create less waste, using things multiple times, and recycling whenever possible.Be smart with food You can avoid wasting food by planning meals, making a shopping list, storing food properly, and using leftovers in new and tasty ways.Use FOGO bins. If you have Food Organics and Garden Organics (FOGO) bins in your area, use them! They make it easy to separate your organic waste from other rubbish.Try composting. You can also manage waste at home with compost bins or worm farms. These options let you turn your waste into something useful and cut down on the amount that goes to the landfill.
A Vision for a Sustainable Future with Reduced Organic Waste
Imagine a future where we take care of our planet by taking care of our waste. That’s the vision for Australia’s sustainable future. When we divert organic waste from landfills, we protect our environment, cut down on harmful greenhouse gas emissions, and save our resources.Each one of us can play a part in this. By recycling, composting, and being smart with what we consume, we can manage organic waste better.At the end of the day, managing organic waste isn’t just about dealing with rubbish. It’s about creating a sustainable future for Australia, where we take care of our planet for ourselves and for the generations to come. We can all contribute to this vision by participating in responsible waste management practices. Together, we can build a greener, more sustainable future.