Learning the path to a "No Waste" future - ACT Material Recycling Facility

Published: Wednesday 31 October 2018

The ACT Chapter visited the ACT Government's Material Recycling Facility at Hume on the 26 September to immerse ourselves and our members into recycling and waste management. 

It incorporates contemporary learning strategies with museum-quality displays, interactive stations and an immersive virtual reality experience. The VR, which was custom developed, allows visitors to virtually experience working on the sorting line to remove contamination, race the Alchemy computer to identify plastics and work with the forklift driver to bale all the materials ready for market.

Ms Robbie Ladbrook, the ACT NoWaste Education Team Leader inspired the group through providing a detailed history of how the facility was born and the transition to its current structure.   She advised that the road to a NoWaste future lay in awareness through; education of our current and future leaders, experience of the sensory journey, and understanding through sight, touch and experimentation. 

Ms Ladbrook explained that the Hub has been designed to engage a range of demographics, from lower primary to secondary and right through to seniors and community groups.  By giving students and other stakeholders an immersion into what happens at the recycling plant, and the extensive waste management practices that are required to operate a landfill, the people of Canberra will have the information and experiences that will help them take more personal responsibility for their waste and recycling. 

You can visit the site and take a look yourself here

Ms Beth Mitchell from ACT Education spoke to the Environmental Sustainability Strategy for ACT Public Schools physical spaces, covering how the Department of Education was championing the drive to look after the environment through sustainable building initiatives and retrofits within ACT Schools.

Beth was also invited to participate with the Materials Recycling Facilities Interactive Virtual Reality tool.  Beth stood behind a protected railing and placed on the VR goggles, from here she was able to take a virtual tour of the complex and sample the everyday processes used by the staff in the facility when selecting and sorting items as accepted or rejected. Beth found the experience so real she experienced a slight level of vertigo during the session. 

As well as an overview of all things recycling the event gave delegates a deeper insight into how to recycle properly to obtain better outcomes. Delegates also gained exposure to, and appreciation of, the mechanisms of facility management and works programs to better our environment whilst providing enhanced opportunities to deliver education to our students within the ACT School system.

Article: Judy Apps

Photos: ABC, Material Recycling Facility