“REDI.e and the Wilcannia Local Aboriginal Land Council are most deserving of their 2020 KAB NSW Litter Prevention Award. Our partnership with the group could not have been achieved without foresight and enthusiasm from the team at Wilcannia. Hosting a return point has supported multiple outcomes, not just considerable local litter reduction, but education and engagement throughout the community. Jenny Thwaites, CEO of the Wilcannia Aboriginal Land Council and Kevin Cattermole who is on the ground project managing operations for the return point, are to be commended for their success in achievement of this award.“

Wilcannia Local Aboriginal Land Council Waste Management Program

Congratulations to the Wilcannia Local Aboriginal Land Council (LALC) and REDI.e for achievement of a prestigious KAB NSW Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Litter Prevention Award!

Jenny Thwaites, CEO of the Wilcannia LALC, initially introduced the idea of joining the container deposit scheme as a return point as part of a much larger waste management project.

Jenny says, “It’s (return point operation) been really good. Money is a big encouragement in a community that has such a high unemployment level and a really high degree of socio-economic disadvantage but it’s also reduced the number of bottles and cans lying on the street and it seems to be having a flow-on effect in that there’s generally not as much rubbish- which is really good.

The overall waste management plan for the area included the introduction of a return point for the NSW container deposit scheme, Return and Earn, and has resulted in a significant litter reduction in Wilcannia, 60% over the time the program was introduced.

NSW EPA Celebrates Achievement at the Awards

NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Chair Rayne de Gruchy congratulated all the winners in the Keep Australia Beautiful NSW 2020 Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Awards.

Ms de Gruchy noted that award recipients were consistently dedicated in their efforts to care for the environment and said the awards provided excellent recognition of their achievements.

Ms de Gruchy says “The work acknowledged by the awards is driven by volunteers and the EPA proudly supports awards which promote local solutions which go to reducing waste and changing behaviours, for a more sustainable future.”

Return and Earn Sponsored the Litter Prevention Awards

The scheme Coordinator for the NSW container deposit scheme, Exchange for Change CEO Danielle Smalley was present at the awards ceremony to deliver good news to the finalists and winners. Ms Smalley praised the Wilcannia Local Aboriginal Land Council for winning the overall Return and Earn Litter Prevention Award.

“The Wilcannia project is a wonderful community-led initiative that has inspired this small and close-knit community and delivered real and visible change across the district,” Ms Smalley said.

The Wilcannia Local Aboriginal Land Council won for their container recycling initiative which has reduced litter in Wilcannia by an astonishing 60 per cent. In May 2019 they established an over-the-counter collection centre which took more than 175,000 drink bottles and cans in the first 10 months.

The centre delivers much more through the program, however. Activities are focused to change waste behaviour across the town, including running regular re-use workshops at Wilcannia Central School and the Youth Drop-in Centre.

 “These innovative achievements by schools, community groups, not-for-profits and local government across the state show a widespread drive towards sustainability,” Ms Smalley said.

The Keep Australia Beautiful NSW 2020 Sustainable Communities Tidy Towns Awards recognise, celebrate and reward the sustainability achievements of rural and regional communities across NSW, and are organised by Keep Australia Beautiful NSW.

Visit the KAB Awards website for further information.

Visit Return and Earn for their latest news.

Read the Waste Management Review to find out more about the not-for-profits involved in the scheme.

Read TOMRA Cleanaway’s case study on Wilcannia.

About the Keep Australia Beautiful Sustainable Communities – Tidy Towns Awards

The Sustainable Communities – Tidy Towns Awards Program incorporates several levels of awards, category awards, overall town awards by population and the Overall Sustainable Communities – Tidy Towns Award.

Previous participants have advised us of numerous social, environmental and economic benefits of entering into the program:

  • Increased community pride, morale, spirit; and physical, mental & social well-being;
  • Social interaction & co-operation between community members, groups and partners;
  • Improved natural environment and restoration of wildlife habitats;
  • Strengthening of current partnerships or initiation of new ones between community members and groups, councils and businesses;
  • Potential for increased tourism and amenities for the local community;
  • Reduction of waste, graffiti prevention, and enhanced management of waste services;
  • Permanent recognition for winners and valuable feedback on award submissions;
  • Public awareness of environmental education issues;
  • Networking opportunities between industry, government, and environmental leaders and experts;
  • Introduction and/or recognition of sustainability initiatives;
  • Recognition of good governance in local government;
  • Opportunities to showcase and celebrate the innovative work, expertise, and vision of your organisation or project;
  • Increased valuable media exposure for your local area and community projects;
  • Learning about other sustainability projects within NSW and sharing ideas with key stakeholders;

Creating excitement and motivation for communities by recognising their efforts in sustainability or other environmental initiatives and programs.

Source: Keep Australia Beautiful