Better solid waste management options for Alice Springs
: recycling in remote areas

  • Rachel O'Leary

    Student thesis: Masters by Research - CDU


    This thesis proposes that a Kerbside Recycling Service would be environmentally beneficial for Alice Springs, a remote town in the Northern Territory (NT) of Australia, where recyclables must travel a minimum of 1500km to be recycled. In support of this argument, I conducted a series of household waste audits in order to estimate recyclable yields from the residential sector; developed an articulated truck model to calculate the transport energy costs of recycling; evaluated the environmental costs and benefits of implementing a Kerbside Recycling Service; and conducted a survey of local business attitudes towards waste and recycling.

    The average Alice Springs household generated 17.6 (±4.4) kg of waste per week, with almost half (46%) of this waste recyclable and a further 33% compostable. Composting food & garden waste locally and recycling glass (preferably in Alice Springs), paper & cardboard and plastics were identified as the four priority areas for residential recycling. Recycling steel and aluminium were also environmentally beneficial. If a residential Kerbside Recycling and Organic Collection Service were to be implemented in Alice Springs, an estimated 3,400 tonnes of waste could be diverted from landfill each year, achieving a residential waste reduction target of 35%.

    Local businesses were generally supportive of the introduction of a Kerbside Recycling Service, as evidenced by their willingness to participate in and financially contribute towards a future service. The use of local government rates, the introduction of a ‘userpays’ pricing system and the collection of unredeemed financial deposits from the NT Government’s Container Deposit Scheme were identified as potential funding options for the delivery of a future Kerbside Recycling Service. Policy improvements to the NT Government’s Container Deposit Scheme were also identified.

    This thesis effectively demonstrates that despite unavoidably large travel distances, the introduction of a Kerbside Recycling and Organic Collection Service would be an environmentally beneficial policy for Alice Springs.
    Date of AwardMay 2016
    Original languageEnglish
    SupervisorRolf Gerritsen (Supervisor) & Christine Schlesinger (Supervisor)

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