Kerb-side recycling collection is a reality in many parts of Australia and other countries, and is being suggested or introduced in many areas that have depot drop-off sites or no separate collection at all. Often at depots, people expect to be paid to bring in their recyclables, or at least some of them, and with kerb-side collection, people expect to be offered the service for free or a very small nominal sum as there is a perception that someone is making money off the recyclable materials being well… recycled into new products.
And fair enough, if council is willing to collect all that material, do some rudimentary sorting of it, then finds a market to sell it to, well they should be entitled to make money off it right?
Well it seems that the problem is two fold, people are not recycling enough of what they are disposing, (some reports suggest it is less than 50%), and secondly, the markets are not taking up the recycled material as content in their products.
Kerb side recycling has gone a long way to exposing people to the ease of recycling their waste, but even with the dispose and forget about it simplicity from the householders perspective, there is a definite lack of awareness as to what products the local council area actually does accept and in what state. Regular waste reporting back to the community might help, informing them of percentage improvements in waste disposal practises, even rewarding sections of the community for the greatest change in habits over a given time frame. Rewards could include reduction in council rates, (which won’t necessarily work for rental properties) or vouchers for free products or services. Current collection practises would probably need to modified slightly to achieve this, however, most landfill areas where this could work would have a weigh bridge facility capable of recording the distribution of waste over the time frame.
A group of students from Dalhousie School of Architecture decided to remedy this problem with a street-ready grass-lined wheel. The wheel is of simple construction – just plywood, mesh, fishing line, and sod, but it’s loaded with meaning. On one hand, it’s a playful protest to the lack of public green space in Halifax. On the other hand, using sod for their material offers a deeper critique on urban greenery. (Photo by Andre Forget – Click on the image to see more of his work).
Universities have long been a source of activism, but this
Hardie Holdings is on of New South Wales’ largest land developers, and particularly in the region we live and work in, the Hunter Valley, it is the largest land holder. As such, it was of no surprise to me when the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Hardie Holdings was one of the first developers to embrace the State Government’s new land trading scheme.
This policy has obvious benefits to the government and the developer. The government can invest less time in costly environmental court battles over proposed developments, instead, the land value (from an environmental perspective) will have been declared well in advance, so it will be a simple hectare for hectare of same kind land trading.
The developer runs less risk in choosing land to develop, as the government will not require detailed environmental assessment.
UrbanWorkbench represents the intersection between Urban Planning, Design and Civil Engineering. True to its name, the site is intended to act as a workbench, an area where ideas are fleshed out, concepts are discussed and debated, and new technologies are reported on and reviewed.
Mike and Robyn are both Civil Engineers. Mike is the Engineer for the City of Rossland, and Robyn works as a consultant in the Urban Land and Municipal Design sectors as a design engineer and project manager. We have an interest in sustainable engineering design within urban areas, having worked on the design of large scale residential housing, road corridor and industrial sites where sustainability has been a driving design criteria. Other experience includes road and subdivision design, golf course subdivision, on-site sewer and stormwater treatment, waste transfer station design, sewer pressure main (rising main) design, and solutions for sustainable total water cycle management strategies.
Mike and Robyn contributed to the Australian Federal Government’s House of Representatives Standing Committee for the Environment, providing a paper on the role of green roof technology in the goal of developing sustainable cities in Australia.
Mike has also contributed articles at the following websites:
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