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Recycling is better than wasting

Waste and built-in obsolescence will be key issues for any generations to come which survive the increasingly disastrous climate conditions that past and present generations have allowed to happen.

In the UK during WWII, every scrap of paper was recycled and I also remember scrap metal yards doing great business.

At secondary school, we were issued with all the necessary exercise books, one for every subject, plus one, made from recycled paper, which was to be used for general note-taking in any subject.

When we had filled one of these books, we were only issued, free, with a replacement if we had clearly filled every available space and not thinned down the book by tearing out pages! If we did not pass inspection, we had to pay for the replacement!

The profligate waste in today’s world, and the pollution resulting from our indiscriminate disposal of unwanted matter are adding to the climate damage, which is dooming us to ever more extreme weather events and damaged food sources.

In the Northern Territory, our remoteness, and lack of imagination, means that our recycling is very limited and far too much goes to landfill.

The other aspect of waste is our failure to harvest the abundant sunshine which we enjoy.

At great expense, we have a railway link to Adelaide in the Ghan railway, which is underused.

If I had the power to get together a group of commercial representatives and NT and Federal politicians, I would urge them to develop recycling facilities here in the NT. We no longer ship our waste to China but if they could recycle it, why cannot we? Bring it here on the Ghan! Or ship it to our port.

We could provide renewable energy to service any facilities required for the recycling process, we could turn suitable plastics into the material required for road surfacing, glass into a substitute for sand in concrete making and in the process we could also power manufacturing facilities for creating renewable energy resources. And while we need to reduce food waste, any that is thrown out should be recycled appropriately to put back into the earth what came from the earth!

With increasing temperatures, evaporation leads to water shortages, yet I understand that film that floats on water and which acts as a solar panel could simultaneously reduce evaporation and supply power! We could manufacture that film!

Our population is diminishing in the Top End, but this could be rapidly reversed if we were to develop industry. Also, ripe for further research is tidal and wave energy. The Top End and the north of WA have massive tides which could surely generate a different form of renewable energy. If you have ever felt the power of waves, you will know how much energy is going to waste! Such a pity that the CSIRO has lost so many scientists to other parts of the world, where wave power is being harnessed!

We are – praise be! – on the threshold of a national election. Inevitably one of the major parties will garner enough votes to be able to form a coalition to form government, but we need consensus government, not adversarial government.

Let us support independent candidates who have a vision for the long-term future, not limited to the electoral cycle, who also have integrity and are determined that government will be transparent.

I hate to think of people as a resource – in the way that economists talk of capital and labour – but we are wasting one resource in ways that damage people. The refugees offshore and who are living in the community but not allowed to seek work – this is costing the country billions and destroying people’s potential in the process.

In the long run, humanity repays a hundredfold!

Current government is responsible for increasing the gap by giving more to those who do not need it and penalising those who desperately require assistance.

Helping those who need help pays enormous dividends over time, morally as well as financially.

We must change course or we will be rapidly overtaken by events!

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  1. Shaun Newman

    I agree wholeheartedly those of us living below the poverty line waste nothing, we scrape the last of the vegemite out of the container, eat the last small piece of grated carrot that may fall from the wrap and recycle any and everything that can be recycled.

    With the effects of Climate Change ever apparent with droughts, floods, bush fires increasing in frequency intelligent Australians should be doing everything we possible can to ward of the increasing danger.

    To that end I have invested all my money into solar panels with battery back up and a large rainwater tank to try to do my bit. I am also planting as many trees as I can reasonably handle on my small suburban house block. I want to provide the best environment possible for my daughter and her generation who will be the ones who will have to cope with the worst effects of Climate Change if our generation fails.

  2. Keitha Granville

    Couldn’t agree more, other countries seem to recycle so much more than we do. Why ? Because they haven’t the money to buy new stuff so they re-use what they can find and turn it into something else. We need the government to make it more expensive to buy new something that could be made from recycling. Plastic bottles MUST be phased out, or made so expensive that no-one buys them.
    It starts with us, we must reduce re-use and recycle everything we can. Stop single use items, make do and mend where we can and stop destroying the planet we live on.

  3. Josephus

    Agree of course; we do all you suggested, Shaun. Add that large families should be heavily taxed… already skilled refugees are cheaper, too!
    Not sure that industry up north is a good idea, though, unless sun or wind powered. (Agriculture and fishing can be polluting also if not run sensitively, viz Murray Darling, Tas. salmon fisheries, Great Barrier Reef).
    Re recycling, the nearest city to us has shut its metal recycling plants. No one wants to buy our very old car for its parts and materials despite my efforts. Also have heard that much ‘recycling’ in our bins is just chucked in landfill.
    Furthermore, no end in sight to vast coal/metal mining projects past, present and approved that use vast amounts of water , though humanity cannot live without clean water. Sydney is reopening its saline water treatment plant, joining the Gulf States and Saudi. But these plants are energy intensive.

  4. helvityni

    Keitha Granville, not everything has to do with money or the lack of it…Holland is hardly a poor country ,but they started recycling bottles and jars some forty/fifty years ago…plastic bags were also not given to you, you took your own bags or baskets with you when shopping…

    It’s to do with being progressive, innovative; I know, I lived there for three years…

    If you had a brekkie on the train, you were given a pamphlet asking how you would improve it, if you were not happy with the service or the food/ coffee…

  5. helvityni


    ” eat the last small piece of grated carrot that may fall from the wrap…”

    Yesterday morning I filled my breakfast muesli bowl too full and could only eat half of it..
    I did not listen to hubby who suggested I bin the rest. I put it in the fridge and finished it this morning…

    It tasted better,dried sultanas/ apricots nicely softened…yummy…LOL

  6. New England Cocky

    There are huge opportunities for persons prepared to investigate ways to sort and recycle plastics for re-use or re-manufacture. We already see some of these in landscaping ‘railway sleepers’ and highway guard rails. The structural applications are only limited by your knowledge of engineering principles used by plants.

    Tyres are already being re-cycled for profit in Australia.

  7. win jeavons

    I remember we used to save string, paper bags, rubber bands ( I never see string now, but still save the others for reuse) . There was a drawer in the kitchen dedicated to these. Even now the 1 newspaper I buy each week is used for firelighting and doggy toilet. when we had chooks we shredded for nests, had to get extra paper from a friend to keep up! For some years I reused supermarket bags till I started to make washable fabric ones instead . They last indefinitely and are scraps from op shops that others have discarded.We could live very differently, quite painlessly/

  8. king1394

    I am getting fussed about the waste of clothing. The charities that seem to have taken over the collection of clothing and cloth waste have become very picky and it seems only wish to accept items that are saleable for good prices in their op shops. Apparently very little now is directly given to the ‘poor’. The old-fashioned op shop owner who used to wash, mend and repurpose many items has been undercut by the charities who use many volunteers and Work for the Dole ‘slaves’. Most of what they discard goes straight to landfill even though there could be other uses for the fibres such as in paper making.

  9. Diannaart


    True. Op Shops now trendy. Very irritating seeing obviously well cashed up matrons rifling through looking for bargains.

    I hadn’t consider the slave trade work for dole being utilised as well. Best to stick to shopping at small local OpShops?

    Prices also, in the big charity shops, reflect the lucrative nature of second hand. As usual the small is muscled out by the fat and tax free even here.

    There is a lot which can be done with natural fibre clothing.

    Not so much with polyester and so on … although I do believe there are possibilities for reclaiming the polymers and creating something else … like tents for the homeless (being a bit facetious) wealthy nations like Australia should not have a housing problem at all.

    There are solutions, but they don’t involve the greed of rampant capitalism.

  10. paul walter

    The problem , from the very beginning, has been the attitude problem and getting people to get a bit ingenious and adjust to the world instead of it to them.

    Asif it is not hard enough to get comfortable people to look around them, a heap of bad influences involving big business, politics and media have been marshalled to reinforce apathy, often using sophisticated persuasion techniques.

    It has got as far as a prolonged attack on science itself, science formerly being the great god at whose altar we were told worship at, but since certain negatives were showed up science, suddenly the most intelligent people of our community are represented as mugs who, for envy ridden killjoy socialist reasons want to wall off easy money from the greedy.

    But the article is also about the easy fix and it is always going to be hard to convince people to give up lazy behavioural traits reinforced that have become ingrained so it must be a very patient exercise from this point, even if the world and half of humanity are already the deep sh-t.

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