Reduce, reuse, recycle
With China recently enforcing its ban on recyclable waste and closing its borders to 30 million metric tonnes of garbage annually from countries across the globe, including Australia, mass panic has resulted with much concern being expressed about the cost, both environmental and financial, of waste and recycling.
Once deemed to be a revenue raiser, recycling, in many cases, is now an increasing cost to councils.
Those involved in waste management companies are seeking to renegotiate contracts and councils are applying for state government funding to meet the expected shortfall, before they start cost shifting to residents by increasing rates.
Analysis of such a challenge requires more than just a stop gap solution, and an expensive option, for the situation we face.
The complexity of the position we are nowin, is directly related to our personal habits and societal expectations, which have changed markedly over the years.
Before undertaking a lengthy and costly investigation of the effects of China's ban, our leaders need to utilise the much forgotten and rarely used KISS method - keep it simple stupid. This procedure would scare many council and government leaders of today, because it relies on common sense, which is lacking in much decision making, where the answers to issues need to be complex and costly rather than simple with minimal or no cost.
‘Back in the day’, when I collected the milk and bread from Quinn's Cafe, the bread was wrapped in one sheet of tissue paper and the milk was decanted into a billy.
The tissue paper was put in the wood stove and when the billy eventually needed replacing, it was used as a peg bucket.
With minimal packaging in those days, waste was limited, unlike today with the explosion of packaging material.
Further evidence of over packaging was evident with Downee pipe fittings. They used to be delivered to my fathers shop in six to eight hessian sacks, then transferred to compartments on the shelves. The sacks were often reused by the farmers when making their purchase.
My father was concerned one morning, when 40 cartons arrived. On opening them he and Robert discovered that they were Downee pipe fittings - individually wrapped in plastic with a cardboard backing. Each of them then had to be opened, with many expletives, so they could be placed onto the shelves.
Our throw away habits have also contributed to the problem - tissues instead of hankies, paper towel in place of cotton tea towels, milk cartons replaced bottles, plastic bags instead of paper ones, disposable nappies rather than cloth nappies, plastic bottles in favor of cans and the list goes on.
The solution to the problem is simple. Reduce the amount of totally unnecessary packaging, use materials which recycle easily (glass, paper and metal) or can be reused and return to using multi use items rather than utilising single use ones.
Community benefit fund coercion
The front page of the Eyre Peninsula Tribune, April 19, (Ballot set for August) screamed of the old-fashioned Mafia tactics of ‘We’ll do this for you if you do this for us’.
There has to be a rule or law against a council accepting what amounts to a bribe to allow the federal government to set up a nuclear facility on the Eyre Peninsula.
First of all, the whole of Eyre Peninsula should be involved in making the decision not just the Kimba council area. Second, there should not be a ‘bribe’ or any coercion involved. Why should taxpayer money be squandered for the government to ‘get its way’? There are many more issues concerning this facility that are so wrong it would take a book to spell them out.
KEN & CAROLE WETHERBY