OLD Bar Beach’s litter and waste management strategy is working – working so well it has picked up a regional award.

In fact, it’s two per cent contamination result is ‘almost unheard of,’ Peter McLean, chief executive officer of Keep Australia Beautiful said yesterday.

The Old Bar rubbish bin project was an initiative of the Taree City Council in partnership with Source Separation Systems, which saw the design, manufacture and installation of specialised recycling systems in the public place. The project also involved the connection with a number of different organisations to make the project come to life. Old Bar Surf Club has assisted with the monitoring of the bin project and site, with JR Richardson monitoring the contamination rates. The program in 98% successful!

“What the surf club has been doing and what the council has been doing with the big infrastructure that has been put in place has been amazingly successful,” CEO of Keep Australia Beautiful Peter McLean said in presenting the award. “It’s seen a huge decrease in contamination of recycling and its seen the amount of actual litter reduced to next to nothing. We have a big focus on resource recovery this sort of award for us is really integral to what we were established to do 37 years ago.”

In accepting the award mayor Paul Hogan praised the efforts of Old Bar SLSC.

“I’m very proud today to on behalf of the community receive an award like this., I know that Old Bar Surf Club has been right at the forefront of providing community service and Greater Taree Council has come on board now as well with this new waste management systems and to be rewarded like this is fantastic.”

Treasurer of Old Bar SLSC Trevor Wisemantle thanked both GTCC and J.R. Richards for their involvement in the process.

“If I look back about 12 months ago we really came on board because as treasurer I wasn’t happy with being lumped with extra costs for waste collection. Those initial discussions turned into what became very successful negotiations and I can only thank Sharon and Amanda for their positive attitude to listen to us and involve J.R. Richards who were integral to this whole process.”

The “Away from Home” recycling trial began in December 2010 with the aim of reducing waste to landfill ratios and to increase resource recovery.

At the commencement of the trial an audit of the public litter bins showed that 33% of waste from the beach’s eight bins could be diverted from landfill if recycling was introduced.

A month after the trial began the second audit found only eight per cent contamination in recycling bins and only 12 per cent of recyclable products in waste bins.

These numbers were reduced following the third and final audit after three months which showed less than four per cent contamination in recycling bins and only one per cent of targeted recycling materials found in waste bins.

Senior Waste Officer, Amanda Chapman nominated the beach for the aware and hopes the success of the litter program will see more bins placed adjacent to the car parks at Old Bar. Amanda’s vision is that the project will be rolled out in Harrington first, a similar holiday town, followed by beached all over the area and eventually the Taree CBD and waterfront areas.

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