Our recent epic clean up of K’gari’s gorgeous coastline brought home just how important it is for all of us to dispose of our waste in a responsible and sustainable way. Over the past four years our superstar volunteers along with our friends over at Ocean Crusaders have removed an abundance of trash washing up on to our east coast beaches. Between January 2022 – August 2022 for example, we have picked up an estimated 40 tonnes of waste from K’gari’s delicate ecosystem. Everything from fridges to microplastics and water bottles wash up on the island’s shores. A large chunk of that waste (around 80%) comes straight from the ocean, and the rest is left behind by visitors to the island.
Now that life is slowly returning to normal after Covid, we expect to welcome more and more visitors to the island with open arms. Now is the time to educate and empower those visitors with the knowledge and resources to dispose of their inevitable waste products in a way that doesn’t harm our planet. The war on waste has begun on K’gari and with every battle we learn more!
The War on Waste – Recognising The Issue
We all know we need to recycle our waste, right? That isn’t necessarily the issue. Right now the facilities on the island are not able to handle the amount of waste that is generated by visitors and the ocean itself. High levels of contamination of recyclable materials has been the main issue, along with confusion over what waste goes in which bin. K’gari Fraser Island Adventures has been removing all recyclable waste from the island to be processed back on the mainland for years now, and repurposing as much as we can from our regular beach clean ups. It’s clear that our beloved K’gari is in desperate need of better waste management facilities and plans are in place to improve the current situation.
The Good News
There is an incredible amount of waste on K’gari that can be recycled. Research was undertaken specifically on this issue and found that of all the waste generated, half of it could be recycled. Glass was the biggest material that could be be given a second life, alongside metal, paper and of course the environment’s biggest enemy, plastic. So half of what currently goes in the bin could actually be recycled, it just needs to go to the right place to get processed.
War on Waste – What Is Good For The Land Must Come First
Driven by the Butchulla First Lore “what is good for the land must come first” the local council recently consulted with leaders from the Butchulla community on what it means to put the land first and what on a practical level needs to change. Coming together to form a vision for the future, the council now has a clear plan for improving current recycling and waste facilities, making it easier to recycle what we can.
K’gari’s War on Waste Strategy
Currently, there are three main waste management sites on the island – Eurong, Happy Valley and Orchid Beach. Plans are now in place for the Eurong site to have a year long trial improving its infrastructure, restricting public access to the site and generally improve waste management and recycling processes. Once the trial is complete what works and what doesn’t work will be assessed and changes will be made to the other two sites. This is big news.
A recycling service for residents and businesses that will enable people to have their recyclables stored and processed at council run waste hubs is also on the horizon. This is an absolute game changer. The council also plans to invest in better signage and educational info to help international and domestic campers know which bins to use and what can and can’t be recycled. A simple but very effective way of ensuring those recyclables stay out of landfill and K’gari Fraser Island Adventures could not be more excited to be working with council on the education campaign.
How You Can Help!
The council and Butchulla community leaders are making big changes to the island but it is still YOU who can make the biggest impact! Join us on our next K’gari Community Beach Clean-Up and pledge to dispose of your waste responsibly and carefully. We can all play our part in K’gari’s war on waste and if we do, the future could be cleaner and greener for our beautiful island!
Take only plastic, leave only footprints.JOIN A BEACH CLEAN UP AND BECOME AN ECO WARRIOR!