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The future of waste on K’gari

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Since the last FINIA meeting, the Fraser Coast Regional Council has been dealing with submissions on the Future of Fraser Island Waste.  FINIA and FIDO both made submissions with long-term resident, David Anderson representing FINIA at the Council’s Fraser Coast Future Waste Forums held on K’gari. FIDO believes that the key to finding a more sustainable solution to K’gari’s waste must be based on dealing more effectively with compostable waste in situ and proposes the establishment of composters at Orchid Beach, Happy Valley and Eurong.

It was only the storage of compostable waste over longer-term periods that K’gari campers and others spent on the island that that led


Lady Elliott Island General Manager Peter Gash displays the island’s solution to dealing with compostable waste

to current waste management policies.  In 1985, the newly created Fraser Island Recreational Management Board decided that visitors should NOT be required to Carry-in and Carry-out all of their own waste, a policy then being established in all other Queensland National Parks.  This left the State and Local Governments with the obligations to carry off the island whatever waste visitors left behind.

The bulk of waste and rubbish generated on K’gari is now left at waste transfer stations from where it is removed for mainland disposal.  Until recently, each Waste Transfer Station had a recycling component with bulk bins for general waste and yellow-topped bulk bins for recyclable material (paper, cans and bottles). Last year, the recycling component scheme was abandoned because so much extraneous general rubbish was being mixed with beverage containers in the recycling bins that continuation with this scheme couldn’t be justified.  Now all unseparated rubbish, including recyclable beverage containers, are dumped in the same bulk-bins as general waste and compostables and delivered to a mainland landfill (in another local authority area) for disposal.

FIDO’s advocacy for composters is based on our observations of the very progressive waste management practices now being undertaken on Lady Elliot Island where particular attention has been given to the treatment of compostable waste. Lady Elliot Island has a resort that is less than half the size of the Eurong Resort (fewer than 100 tourist beds) yet the resort there has found it feasible to install a composter to deal with food waste that it generates.  The Lady Elliot Island composter is conveniently located within the resort precinct and produces no foul odour.  It takes kitchen waste in and produces useable compost out.

Like Fraser Island (Kgari), Lady Elliot Island is also a World Heritage island.  It has tried burying compostables, but that practice had to be abandoned due to the limited area available.   There are similar constraints on K’gari.  After 48 hours of digestion, the Lady Elliot Island composter’s final product can be used in landscaping on the island.

If K’gari’s compostables are dealt with in situ, there is no reason why all other waste shouldn’t be dealt with on a Carry in—Carry out basis.

Article submitted by John Sinclair, Fraser Island Defenders Organisation

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