Working together on waste

There are many people in our community keen to see a further reduction in the amount of waste we generate, and stop it ending up on our beaches and in the ocean. Camilla Kerr-Ruston reports on an event she organised that brought representatives from various organisations together to brainstorm a cooperative way forward:

What happens when you put teachers, surfers, gardeners, entrepreneur dads, P &C members, Army Reservists, redheads, a journalist and a councillor in a room and ask them to talk rubbish?  “A revolution” – according to of Nicole Parsons from the Illawarra Shoalhaven Joint Organisation.

For three hours on the evening of  4 April over 40 people from a wide range of community organisations from the Kiama Area gathered to talk about waste and how they as a community want to tackle the waste problem we have, not only in the Kiama area but in the Illawarra, New South Wales, Australia and the World.

Under the guidance of Kiama local, Dr Monty Badami, from Habitus, the group laughed, clapped, focused, brain stormed and networked to establish four core topics that they as a community wish to concentrate on in

regards to waste management in the Kiama area and beyond.

These four core topics are:

  • Education
  • Changing behaviour
  • Working together
  • Reducing waste

These core topics will be taken to Kiama Council and local business groups to see how they can contribute to the community’s ‘war on waste’.  These four topics will also be used by the individual organisations, partnered organisations, the whole group and any others who wish to join in to work together to tackle waste.

Some ideas that may progress further are:

  • the installing of a ‘sea bin’ in Kiama Harbour
  • running a short film festival for the youth of the area to highlight what they see as the solutions to waste
  • an app that tells you what bin the waste in your hand goes into
  • pictures on packaging to show what happens if it not disposed of correctly
  • a street bin challenge.

There are numerous further discussions and meetings to take place but we have started to work towards tackling the waste problem as a community.

This whole evening would not have been possible without the support of Reduce, Reuse, Recycle-Kiama, the makers of Kiama Boomerang Bags.

The ‘bag ladies’ are often asked where the money they make by selling the bags goes to, after the cost of servicing sewing machines and buying threads etc. the answer is back into the community by paying for things such as the facilitation and catering for the evening.

The Waste Management Department of Kiama Council provided the Joyce Wheatley Centre, as well as encouragement that people would attend the seminar.

If you would like further information or to be included in the next ‘waste is a resource’ meeting please do contact me at


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s