Measuring waste in tonnes and millions in East Arnhem

Date: Jan 13, 2023

Publication Type: Blog

Subject: Newspaper

Waste management in East Arnhem is a difficult operation. Communities are spread across large areas of isolated and hard to access land and there’s limited space for landfill, particularly within island communities.

The East Arnhem Regional Council (EARC) are making a change though, with multiple strategies and projects currently underway to improve the environmental impact and sustainability of waste management in the region.

Some of the 2013 tonnes of scrap metal that's been recycled so far

The Council’s “10 Year Waste Strategy” has seen the implementation of bi-weekly residential kerbside rubbish collections, “Clean-up Weeks” four times a year, a “Cash 4 Containers” program that’s currently closing in on 2 million recycled containers diverted from landfill and facilitating close to $200,000 back to community members directly involved and a region wide scrap metal recovery project that since 2019 has recycled approximately 2213 tonnes of scrap metal across six communities.

Shane Marshall, Director of Technical and Infrastructure Services for EARC, said “the Council tries to develop community-based initiatives that focus on incentive-based programs that promote behaviour changes. Initiatives such as “Cash 4 Containers” have been successful as they promote long-term positive waste management practices, improve the environment, and provide a small cash incentive directly to individuals who want to participate” 

Scrap metal recovery in Yirrkala before and after clean up

“Improving waste management practises is important to the region as it improves the environment through reduced litter and dumping, promotes a healthy lifestyle, reduces long-term costs of landfilling, and improves the sustainability of the region by promoting a circular economy through the diversion of different waste streams out of the landfill and sending them back to industry to reuse and recycle.”

EARC organises many of the waste management events throughout the region and receive support from local organisations such as ALPA, CDP, ranger groups and schools as well as participation from local residents.

Communities involved in the EARC waste management program are Angurugu, Umbakumba, Milyakburra, Galiwin’ku, Gapuwiyak, Milingimbi, Ramingining and Yirrkala. 

'Cash 4 Containers' program in Milingimbi