Market starts conversation on waste
ORGANISING waste at home has become second nature to most people, but knowing the difference between recyclables, compost and landfill when out in town can be a little harder.
Yamba River Markets have embarked on a program to help patrons properly identify and dispose of the waste generated on market day by offering incentives to community groups to start conversations around the bins.
"It's no secret we have struggled to manage our green and yellow bins," said market coordinator Gary Brisbane.
"It's hard for customers to know what items belong in which bin, especially with all the different food packaging
"We have tried signs but it just wasn't working, the best way is to engage with people."
After putting a call out for assistance in managing the waste generated by between two thousand to three thousand visitors per month, they got in touch with Meadow Greenwood owner of Eco- Era.
The Coffs Harbour-based outfit found ecologically sustainable alternatives to single-use items, and offered logistical assistance in managing waste at events, in this case by standing by the bins and talking to people.
"We found that many stallholders already supply customers with compostable packaging, serving materials and cutlery," said Ms Greenwood.
"However, there are some tricky items that might appear or be labelled compostable, but actually have to go in the yellow bin, like coffee cups and lids
"Similarly, there are items that you would think are compostable, that sadly have to go in the red bins, destined for landfill."
The result of engaging with patrons was a reduction in the amount of waste going to landfill and an increase in the waste directed to recycling and composting.
Yamba River Markets were now looking for volunteers to help manage the bins and are offering cash incentives for local charities and community groups whose members choose to participate.
This will be funded in part by the new mug library, an initiative that enables people to borrow a mug for a one dollar donation and use them as an alternative to using plastic take-away cups.
"Its a great initiative, people can keep the mug for the duration of the festival and then give it back at the end." Said Mr Brisbane.