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Recycling revamp sees great results

11 Nov 2020

Recycling revamp sees great results Image

By Maeve Bannister

A Southbank local’s initiative to revamp her building’s recycling area, with lights, signs and common sense, has had hugely successful results.

Resident of The Summit, Arji Fry, who is one of the founders of the Southbank Sustainability Group, said looking after the planet had always been important to her.

“Our planet is suffering, and we need to do something about it and to do anything is better than nothing,” she said.

“[The building] was just becoming very complacent and I was disappointed in how our recycling area was being treated, no one paid attention, no one cared what they put where and we decided to try and do something about it.”

As chair of the owner’s corporation (OC) of her building, Ms Fry had the full support of the committee to undertake a recycling revamp and got to work straight away.

“The first thing we did was create signs to put up in each of the lifts, each with one message per sign about which recycling goes in which bin,” she said.

“We also set up a motion sensor-activated lighting system that simply couldn’t be ignored because as soon as someone stepped into the recycling area, the lights went on and flashed in different colours.”

In the future, Ms Fry plans to paint the floor of the recycling area in different colours guiding people to the correct bin, but budget restraints have put a halt on the additional project for now.

Most of the feedback she’s received from her fellow residents was that people didn’t know the different rules for the bins, but after reading the signs they realised it was quite simple.

“All the information came from the City of Melbourne website, and I just put it on to signs that we swap out every few weeks to keep it refreshed,” she said.

Not only has Arji’s building seen an improvement in recycling habits, residents in other buildings in the area have tested her ideas.

Managing waste in apartment buildings was a central component of the City of Melbourne’s 2030 waste and resource recovery strategy adopted by the council last year, and it’s initiatives like Ms Fry’s that are valuable in decreasing waste production.

“They’re simple ideas and they are easy to implement, and I’d love to see more buildings to do it, because at the end of the day it made a difference,” Ms Fry said.

“We continue to have a really good improvement and the number of plastic bags people used to put their recycling in are just no longer there.” •

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