The Coffs Harbour Waste Conference looks ahead to 2030

Keynote speaker Cate McQuillan opens the Waste Conference.

 

THE MAIN issues to emerge from The Coffs Harbour Waste Conference were, “To achieve the National Goal of reducing waste to landfill by 80% by 2030 we need improved recycling, more food and garden waste collection services around Australia, the extraction of energy from soft plastics that would otherwise be landfilled and to integrate the principles of the circular economy into waste management practices,” Greg Freeman, Conference Convenor told News Of The Area.

The Conference, in its 25th year, held at the Opal Cove Resort, was attended by 346 delegates and is the largest annual gathering of waste management professionals from across Australia.

Day One featured an inspirational keynote address by Cate McQuillan, creator of the popular children’s TV series Dirt Girl.

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She spoke about the importance of community participation in recycling and composting programs and how we can reduce waste to landfill through social change.

Presentations on Community Education by educators in local councils around Australia followed.

Energy from Waste focused on how we could turn soft plastics into energy rather than depositing them in landfill.

The challenges faced by regional areas in managing wastes looked at how to create economic opportunities from waste recycling, extending waste collection services into remote areas and how to improve recycling in regional Australia.

Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight opened Day Two, followed by keynote addresses by Kate Wilson from the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and Dr Joe Pickin, giving an update on the National Waste Report.

How to create a Circular Economy, was discussed in detail, with an inspirational address from Katy Barfield, founder of Second Bite (food recycling used by Coles) and Yume (farmers sourcing alternative markets for lower grade produce).

Also covered was plastics management, particularly how to reduce marine plastics pollution.

Dr Heinz Schandl from the CSIRO, gave the keynote on Day Three, speaking on social theory and the Circular Economy.

Indigenous waste management and a day-long focus on food organics: composting vs landfill; litter and Illegal Dumping were popular sessions.

 

By Andrea FERRARI

 

Delegates at the Coffs Harbour Waste Conference 2021.

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