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Paintback: how to safely dispose of unwanted paint and varnish

Can’t find a re-use for your old paint, varnish, deck stains or the old paintpots and pails?  Then the Paintback scheme, which celebrates its fifth anniversary in May 2021, can take it for safe disposal.

Paintback is open to households and trade users.  It receives unwanted paint and paint packaging from more than 155 Australian collection locations – including collection points at 18 Waste Transfer Stations in Tasmania – and ensures it is disposed of safely or repurposed for other industrial uses.

A record-breaking 8 million kilograms of unwanted paint and paint packaging was diverted from Australian landfills and waterways last year, according to  Paintback.  By the end of June this year, Australians are on track to have safely disposed of almost 30 million kilograms of paint and packaging since Paintback started five years ago.

Paintback transports the used paint from collection sites for treatment and repurposing, significantly reducing the paint in landfill.

Currently, unwanted paint is converted into an alternative fuel source replacing coal, or its water is extracted and used by other industries, reducing the need to use mains water.  This is where Paintback is funding Australian research into how it can improve the recovery of the paint and pails, to reduce demand on virgin resources.  Paintback aims to have 90% of unwanted paint diverted into Australia’s budding circular economy – where products are re-used or are repurposed for other manufacturing or industry processes to keep them circulating instead of being discarded permanently.

To find a Paintback collection point near you, contact your local council or search

Reusable Modern Cloth Nappies and Wipes

Reusable Vs Disposable Nappies – why make the switch?

In Hobart alone, every year approximately 466 tonnes – the equivalent of 100 full garbage trucks – of disposable nappies end up in McRobies Gully landfill. Multiply that across Tasmania and there are millions of disposable nappies being sent to landfill every year, each nappy taking hundreds of years to break down while producing methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Disposable nappies are the 4th most prevalent material after food waste, plastic packaging and textiles collected as waste from Hobart homes and make up 5% of all residential waste collected.
Modern, reusable cloth nappies and wipes provide alternatives that are kinder on the planet and your hip pocket.

Download our free fact sheet to find out:
– What are modern cloth nappies?
– What about the cost?
– Are compostable disposables an option?
– Low waste options for wipes
– Low waste options for breast (nursing) pads
– More helpful information and resources.

Towards Zero Waste for Launceston: free booklet

Towards Zero Waste for Launceston is an initiative of Gentle Footprints Permaculture Education, the City of Launceston and the Northern Tasmanian Waste Management Group.

They’ve produced a free, handy guide to help reduce waste.  It covers everything from composting and worm farms, to the Swap not Shop movement, how to reduce recycling contamination, and the principles of the waste hierarchy.

Get a copy here:

To celebrate April being Urban Agriculture month, there will be an official launch of the Towards Zero Waste for Launceston booklet.  At the event, you can see a worm-a-bago worm farm in action!

Northern Suburbs Community Centre
49 Georgetown Rd, Newnham
Friday 30 April from 12.00 – 12.45pm.
Waste free refreshments will be provided.
>> Spaces are limited so bookings are essential by calling 6326 5506 <<

A guide to low waste period products

Around 300 million tampons and 500 million pads are sold in Australia each year. The Sustainable Period Project estimates that with every period where only disposable pads and tampons are used, Australians spend up to $20 and throw away one shopping bag full of plastics, fibres and packaging.

And with the average woman using over 10,000 disposable menstrual products in their lifetime, that’s a lot of waste going to landfill.

For women and girls looking to reduce their period product waste, there are several alternatives available including washable cloth pads, period underpants, and menstrual cups.
Although the up-front cost is higher for re-usable products, they provide better value in the long run.

Download our free fact sheet for more information:

Image credits: Love Luna, My Cup, JuJu, Lunette, Hannahpad

Tasmania’s Container Refund Scheme (CRS)

The Tasmanian Government is introducing a Container Refund Scheme (CRS) as part of its Waste Action Plan. The aim is to start the CRS sometime in 2022.

You can find out more about Tasmania’s CRS plans and next steps on the Tasmanian Government’s website.

The Government recently announced its position on how Tasmania’s CRS should be governed. The selected model is ‘split responsibility’ governance. That means a Scheme Coordinator oversees the Scheme’s finances and administration, while an independent Network Operator establishes and runs the network of Container Refund Points.

The Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) supports this model. Here’s a statement from LGAT made on 4 February 2021:

“Local Government welcomes the State Government announcement on the design of a Container Refund Scheme for Tasmania. A Container Refund Scheme is an essential part of a good waste management system and something the Local Government Association of Tasmania (LGAT) has been recommending for some time.

The President of the Tasmanian Local Government Association Mayor Christina Holmdahl said:
“As the main provider of rubbish removal and recycling for Tasmanian communities, councils know a Container Refund Scheme will both reduce the burden of plastic litter in our environment and increase recycling rates, for the benefit of our whole community.”

LGAT commends the State Government on choosing a split-governance model for Tasmania’s Container Refund Scheme, which separates responsibility for running the scheme from operating the container collection network, similar to the model currently operating in NSW. Under this model, the network operator is motivated to capture as many containers as possible, which is a win for the community and the environment.

“A split-governance model is likely to result in many more accessible collection points than the alternative model, making it easy for community members to return their containers and receive their refund” Mayor Holmdahl said.

“By separating running the scheme from the network the State Government can guarantee consumer convenience and therefore high rates of container return. The more containers returned means a lower cost scheme for the community and better environmental outcomes” Mayor Holmdahl continued.

LGAT looks forward to continuing to work with the State Government on improving waste management and seeing the benefits for all Tasmanians and our local environment.”

Northern Tasmania Waste Minimisation Grant Recipients Announced

The Northern Tasmanian Waste Management Group’s annual resource recovery and waste minimisation grants program has allocated $70,000 towards funding eligible organisations in Northern Tasmania who are demonstrating innovation towards decreasing the amount of waste sent to landfill.

The program responds to the increasing financial pressures associated with meeting landfill management, environmental and rehabilitation standards, as well as the need to reduce the strain on landfill airspace and the environment by recycling and reusing materials.

The 2020/21 Grants Program closed on 1 December 2020 with financial support being provided across 12 projects to help fund costs associated with procuring infrastructure or educational materials necessary to improve waste management practices in Northern Tasmania.   The total value of these projects once completed is over $287,000 and is estimated to divert more than 128 tonnes of waste from landfill per annum.

The funds have been distributed as follows:

Launceston College (Plastic Fantastic Planters) –
Have been granted funds to help establish a new student enterprise initiative that is focused on diverting plastic waste from landfill by turning plastic into planters. Bottle lids will primarily be used as a raw material as they are currently unable to be recycled. The College will not just collect, sort and recycle the plastic but close the loop on this recycling stream by creating a sustainable, marketable product in these planters which will be sold in the colleges new retail space “The Cell” and other local small businesses. This project aims to demonstrate the profitability of a sustainable product and the ability of students to design, manufacture, market, and sell 100% recycled products.

Northern Midlands Council (Recycling Trailer) –
Have been awarded funding to construct a recycling hub trailer for the collection of items that are not recyclable through the kerbside recycling collection such as CD’s, bread tags, coffee pods etc. The trailer will be taken to schools and community events to increase awareness of recycling including the new and emerging waste streams and will encourage the community to recycle these items rather than them ending up in landfill.

University of Tasmania (Inveresk precinct On-site FOGO Waste Management System) –
Have been granted funds to help establish a combined community and University food garden in the Inveresk precinct with the aim of creating a fully accessible garden comprised of orchards and garden beds. To close the loop and create a circular economy UTAS will be installing an in-vessel composting system to recycle their food and garden waste as well as their compostable packaging. The project will be run by UTAS staff and students with the compost then used to nourish their gardens.

The Launceston Preparatory School (Multi-sort Recycle Bins) –
Have been granted funding to assist with the purchase of several multi-sort recycling bins and trolleys for the school. The colour coding and duplicate bins located in key waste points throughout the school will educate the students and embed long term sustainable waste management practices from an early age in the hope they will advocate sustainability in their homes and into the future.

Westbury Primary School (Westbury Community Recycling Hub) –
Have been awarded funds to establish a recycling hub that is open to the community to recycle items that are not recyclable through the kerbside recycling collection. The community hub will be based at Westbury Primary School which is central to the community and available during school hours. Students will run the project and will be regularly checking the hub capacity and once a compartment is full they will weigh the items before packaging them up to send to the appropriate organisations for recycling.

Rotary Club of Central Launceston (Recycling Batteries with Rotary) –
Have been granted funding to provide their Rotarians with two battery recycling boxes to place in their workplaces and their partner’s workplaces to encourage staff and customers to deposit used batteries for recycling. The boxes will be brought to weekly Rotary meetings in which the batteries will get placed into a bigger collection container to be taken to the local recycling depot. The aim of the project is to increase the awareness about the need to divert used batteries from landfill and the harmful effect on the environment and safety issues they pose to collection contractors and landfill operators.

City of Launceston (Lilydale Community Recycling Trailer) –
Have been granted funds to build a trailer to take out to the Lilydale Waste Transfer Station once a week to allow the Lilydale community to bring in their recyclable items for recycling. The initial phase of the project is to offer cardboard, e-waste, commingled and household battery recycling with plans to expand the project and establish a mobile recycling hub if the trailer is the initial phase is successful. When the trailer is not in use at Lilydale there is capacity to utilise the trailer at schools and at events and festivals around the Launceston municipality.

Launceston Big Picture School (Smells Like Green Spirit) –
Have been granted funds to purchase a compost tumbler so the school can improve their carbon footprint and recycle the food waste that comes from their commercial kitchen. The first stage of the project will be to set up a compost team to lead to the school-wide waste audit in the first term of 2021, the school advisory group will then be charged with educating the school community about composting. This project will also involve teaching the students about the science of composting with a hands on learning opportunity that will be integrated into the school curriculum.

Fork It Farm (Return, Reuse and Repurpose) –
Have been granted funds to establish two new sustainable practises to their business, the first is to purchase glass washer infrastructure to develop a jar return and re-use scheme for their product range to enable them to sanitise and sterilise the jars for reuse. The second is to purchase a kiln to process their only waste product into biochar which will then be put back into their soils to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide entering the atmosphere.

Dorset Council (Dorset Recycling Education Campaign) –
Have been granted funds to launch a recycling education campaign to reduce the incidences of the top recycling bin contaminants in Dorset (soft plastic, food and garden waste). The aim of the project is to engage the community and increase their awareness on household waste management.

Shachaya Group Pty Ltd (Organisational Waste Recycling) –
Have been grated funds to establish sustainable waste management receptacles at the Panorama Resort St Helens. The project will involve purchasing recycling bins for glass, paper, plastic and aluminium and produce educational material for the guests on how to recycle.

Longford Primary School (Longford Using Waste to Improve our Place) –
Have been granted funds to help establish a school orchard and chicken coop for their food and garden waste that they compost onsite. The project involves the purchase of multisort bins for the school and wicking beds for the garden.

Australian National Waste Report 2020

National Waste Report 2020

The National Waste Report was prepared by Blue Environment on commission to the Australian Government Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment, which has committed to producing a national waste report every two years.

The report provides a summary of the status of waste in Australia in 2018-19,including data on waste generation, source streams, materials and fates. Trend data is included back to 2006-07.

The National Waste Report 2020 report:

  • provides data and information on Australia’s waste generation, recovery and fate for all waste streams and various material categories
  • analyses this information by state and territory and on a per capita basis.

Visit the National Waste Report 2020 website here.

Download the full National Waste Report 2020:

Download the National Waste Report 2020 Factsheet:


Congratulations Waste NoT Awards 2020 Winners!

Waste NoT Awards 2020 Winners

The winners of the seventh annual Waste NoT awards have been announced, with nine projects selected across several categories for their innovative waste management initiatives in Northern Tasmania. Congratulations everyone!

Early Learners Category: Break O’Day Child and Family Centre

The Centre set up composting and worm farms on the site with the contents recycled into the centre’s gardens. The centre’s bins have been labelled, encouraging recycling and the centre’s arts and crafts projects consist of recycled materials. Staff have swapped from paper towel to use reusable cloths and are delivering training to make bees-wax wraps, moisturisers, lip balms, bath bombs and face scrubs. They also support and encourage families to take garden cuttings and seeds from the garden to increase home-cooked food rather than packaged snacks and meals. These programs are now ongoing and are practiced day-to-day, so the children learn how to reduce waste from the moment they walk and talk.

Primary School Category: Our Lady of Mercy Catholic School

The Sustainability at Our Lady of Mercy project involved installing source separation bins (general waste, green waste and recycling) around the school to promote recycling and sustainability. The green waste is turned into compost to use on the school’s garden and the SRC and ECO leaders work with staff and students to implement this project through advertising, including newsletters and assembly presentations, while the class teachers have been promoting the project in the classroom and around the school. A sustainability club has been formed who meet twice a week in which members are taking further care of the school grounds and the environment in collaboration with the community.

Secondary School Category: Kings Meadows High School

A project initiated by their Year 9 students, which set up an additional recycling program for a school-wide white paper collection through a local waste management contractor. This project was extended to capture used paper resources, which are disposed of at the end of the term when students clean out their lockers. At the same time, other items were separated such as water bottles, pencil cases and stationery and students identified whether they were recyclable or could be reused.

Colleges/Tertiary Institutions Category: University of Tasmania

The University established a network of recycling walls throughout the campuses with three walls being located at the Newnham and Inveresk sites. The walls have been created using old filing cabinets, which were sourced from their furniture re-use program with the aim of encouraging staff and students to recycle difficult-to-recycle items such as small e-waste, batteries and toothbrushes. Filing cabinets do not have much use at the University nowadays due to the widespread use of electronic files. UTAS made good use of their stockpile in 2020 to extetnd the network and now there are 20 recycling walls across the two campus sites with demands still coming in from staff and students to have them installed in departments and student living areas. The community can also now get involved with the UTAS recycling walls because they are listed as Teracycle Community Collection hubs, allowing the public to drop off their items too.

Small – Medium Organisations Category: Panama Productions

The 2020 Panama Music Festival was successful in achieving zero waste. To meet this goal, Panama had a dedicated team of volunteers – called the Zero Waste Team – who had a designated sorting area where they would sort the waste into recycling or compost and pull out any contamination. This, combined with better targeted signage at key areas, reduced the amount of contamination. They also had reusable cups and crockery, which was washed and reused at the event using a commercial mobile glass washer.

Large Organisations Category: Hydro Tasmania

Set a target of diverting 95 per cent of their waste from landfill by the end of December 2021 by creating a roadmap called “Too Good To Waste”, which is engaging while also setting achievable goals for the organisation. To start the roadmap, Hydro Group conducted 13 site waste audits across the state, which revealed 90 per cent of their waste could be diverted from landfill. The roadmap also focuses on shifting behaviours, reframing waste as a commodity and enacting a circular culture within the organisation. Actions underway include targeting specific materials to reduce or remove from their waste streams, through to education and communication programs to influence the wider community. The roadmap also outlines how they will measure and track their progress, including regular audits, employee engagement and periodic reviews.

Individuals Category: Isaac Williams Design Objects

A project called “Rebirthed”, which began as a design challenge to maximise the life of a collection of furniture destined for landfill. Originally, the project focused on presenting a range of cork/steel and timber furniture items but has since expanded to include a collection of wallets and bags as a way of keeping the usable sections of the old upholstery away from landfill as well. The stitching in wallets is made from recycled bike tyres. The designs help change perceptions and shift the perspective around waste to instead look at it as a resource.

Not-For-Profit/Community Group Category: Northern Suburbs Community Centre

Awarded for many of their waste reduction activities at the centre, including the design and development of 5 mobile worm farms (AKA – the Worm-a-bago) which was offered as a competition prize for high schools and colleges. The Worm-a-bagos come with education material including ‘how to’ videos that focus on the benefits of worm farms in the garden. They have also created an upcycled bath tub worm farm for their own use. Sawdust from The Shed at Rocherlea is used as garden mulch and the garden beds are made of recycled pallets, fence palings, apple crates and IBC containers. Upcycled corrugated iron, pallets and fence palings were used to make a four-bay composting system. Growing fresh foods in the garden supports the centre’s sharing table and is used in the kitchen to prepare meals. This also includes 180 frozen meals for emergency food relief, which in itself generates 30 litres of organic waste a week. A permaculture course had been introduced into the neighbourhood houses, which is an effective mechanism to introduce waste reduction concepts. They also have a shared learning arrangement with UTAS and TasTAFE for sustainability and workplace pathway students to visit the site and be involved with the programs on offer. They have a swap shop currently under development as well as a 10-page education resource, which is due for release soon and will be available on the NSCC website.

State/Local Government Category and Overall 2020 Winner: Launceston General Hospital (Food Services Department)

The food waste recovery project, a first of its kind in Tasmania. The LGH food services department provides 20,000 meals to patients, staff and visitors each week. The project has enabled the team to divert 35 wheelie bins or 1750kg of food waste from landfill every week by initiating composting. The project is innovative and was made possible by engaging with a range of stakeholders including the public and private sector, waste contractors and consumers. The project involved rethinking food types, supply chains and compliance with regulatory frameworks such as the food standards code. The reduction in methane emissions by composting the hospital’s food waste is equal to removing five cars from our roads each year. LGH Food Services is implementing, where possible, more eco-friendly or compostable packaging such as takeaway cups, sandwich packets and straws – all of which can now be composted alongside the food waste.

The 2020/21 Resource Recovery and Waste Minimisation grants program – Northern Tasmania

The 2020/21 Resource Recovery and Waste Minimisation grants program – Northern Tasmania

Community grants for waste-reducing projects, educational materials and physical equipment are available within the Northern Tasmanian region including Break O’Day, Dorset, George Town, Launceston, West Tamar, Meander Valley, and Northern Midlands council areas.

These grants provide financial support for eligible project costs associated with procuring infrastructure or educational materials to improve waste management practices.

A total of $70,000 in grant funding is available across the Northern Tasmanian Waste Management Group region.

>>Applications for the 2020/21 grants program closed 5.00pm Tuesday 1 December, 2020<<

Notice of successful grant recipients will be published in late December.

What is e-waste?

What is e-waste?

E-waste (short for electronic-waste) is electrical equipment that no longer works and can’t be repaired. It Includes computers, printers, mobile phones, TVs, monitors and electrical accessories like keyboards, power supplies and cables.

Some e-waste products are recycled under Product Stewardship Schemes, this means that when you buy these products a portion of their price is used to pay for the collection and recycling of them once they no longer work. In Australia, this includes entertainment equipment, mobile phones, computers and printers.

Not all e-waste collection and recycling is covered by a Product Stewardship Scheme so small fees are sometimes necessary when the items are returned for recycling to help with the cost of dismantling these valuable resources.

NOTE!  E-waste recycling services vary around Tasmania.
> > Check with your local council to see what can be recycled in your area.
> > Electrical-goods retailers (such as Officeworks) also sometimes collect e-waste recycling.

Here’s a general guide to the e-waste items most commonly accepted for recycling in Tasmania :

Laptops / Notebooks
PDAs / Tablets
Monitors (including flat-screen LCD)
Printers and multi-functional devices (MFDs)
Power supplies and adaptors

Special collections may also exist for:

Mobile phones
Printer cartridges
Hard drives
Air conditioning units
Smart boards
Docking stations
Modems and set-top boxes
Games consoles

Can’t find a local e-waste recycling outlet?

You can post your e-waste for responsible recycling for a flat fee of $14.95 thanks to a partnership between TechCollect and Australia Post known as TechExpress.

Post up to 22kgs of e-waste, including mobile phones, laptops, keyboards, computer parts and accessories. Simply buy and download a postage label and follow the steps on the TechExpress website.

Can it be repaired?

Fixing damaged electronic items can save money and conserve resources. Manufacturers may offer repair services, especially if still under warranty. There are also Repair Cafes and licensed technicians who can service and repair a wide range of electronic products.

See what’s possible, you can always turn to recycling as a last resort if repairs cannot be made and re-use if no longer an option.

Tips to reduce e-waste

  1. If you buy new equipment, ask about reuse and recycling options to help inform which product you choose.
  2. Avoid disposable products. Only buy products that are durable or repairable and have a good warranty.
  3. Consider leasing equipment that can be returned when it is no longer needed.

Read more about e-waste in our fact sheet:

Thanks for rethinking waste in Tasmania!

verticaldividerRethink Waste aims to improve our efforts at reducing, reusing and
recycling in order to decrease the amount of waste that ends up as landfill.
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