Cleaner, greener mountain resort
ABOUT 100 tonnes of garbage is now being recycled each winter as part of Mt Hotham’s commitment to reduce waste.
But resort management says further education will result in even greater benefits for the environment.
It says the three stream recycling not only reduces the amount of hard waste that goes into the ground at landfill, but also cuts greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to climate change, conserving natural resources, and preventing pollution by reducing need to collect raw materials.
Mount Hotham’s solid waste supervisor Rodney Hodson said there were many advantages in the three-bin system at Mount Hotham.
“By having the three separate streams from an environmental point of view, we are putting less of it into the ground, which means we are considering its cost factor and carbon footprint,” he said.
“About 48-49 per cent of our collected garbage is recyclable materials which is 90–100 tonnes per year, maybe a bit more depending year to year.
“Prior to recycling, everything went to landfill. I think we have only fifteen years left on landfill, so best to save space and take all the recyclable goods out, so we can save on costs to cart everything off the hill,” he said.
Over winter, the garbage collectors carry out a daily run around the lodges and commercial buildings.
All garbage is then transported to Danny’s Shed, where it is separated into solid waste, food waste or recyclables and is then transported to their relevant destinations.
Mount Hotham has a solid waste and food waste composting system at Cobungra and the recyclables are processed at Danny’s Shed and then taken to Wangaratta.
Mr Hodson said that it was all about educating the lodgies, guests and commercial operators on the importance of using the three-bin system.
“When people cross-contaminate these things it’s a problem because you can have a bag full of recycling and it’s got food waste through it, so it then becomes garbage,” he said.
“A lot of lodges don’t have a manager, so you’re talking to them every week because you get new people every week. With commercials, it’s a bit different you have to push it a bit more, it’s just education and time.
“Bulk of the lodges and apartments are really good, it’s some of the commercials and big apartment areas that we have trouble with because they are old buildings and they haven’t got the room to have three bins. A lot of recycling gets mixed in with garbage, it’s an ongoing problem but it is getting better.”
Tour groups can visit the recyclable shed to see and understand the process that is used to separate the different categories of garbage, and a morning tea is usually provided on this occasion.
“We get a lot of kids coming down and they are on top of it because they are taught at school,” Mr Hodson said.
“It helps people see and understand that we do separate our waste and not just collect it all and throw it away, so they can see their time taken is going towards the greater good.”