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Mass bin removal in bid to cut hwy trash

WHAT A WASTE: Truckies may have to drive further to get rid of their rubbish, but on the plus side, rest stops are more likely to be litter-free.
WHAT A WASTE: Truckies may have to drive further to get rid of their rubbish, but on the plus side, rest stops are more likely to be litter-free. Kirstin Payne

TRUCKIES in WA may have to drive a little further to dump their trash now that rubbish bins have disappeared en masse from rest stops along the Great Northern Hwy between Kununurra and Broome.

The great bin removal, noticed by a number of WA drivers, is part of the Main Roads department's statewide litter plan.

In a bid to improve efficiencies in litter collection from highway roadside stopping places, the department has removed all 200-litre bins from parking bays and rest areas in the Kimberley and installed 2.5 cubic metre skip bins at 24-hour rest areas.

The department suggests Main Roads patrol crews in the Kimberley were spending a significant proportion of their time collecting litter from roadside stopping places.

As a consequence, a six-month litter management trial was undertaken during the 2016 tourist season to gauge the effectiveness and efficiencies of alternative litter management activities.

The trial involved removing the 200-litre 'drum bins' from all stopping places such as parking bays, truck bays and rest areas on sections of the Great Northern Hwy from Sandfire to Halls Creek.

They were then replaced with larger bins, which are specifically designed to prevent spillage and access by wildlife, at locations generally in the vicinity of 24-hour rest areas along the highway.

Signage was installed at all parking bays and previous litter spots or dump points, the signs stressing compliance with littering laws and providing clear directions to the new litter disposal locations.

The trial results were positive, with less on-ground litter reported in roadside stopping places and a high uptake on the use of the larger, more efficient skip bins at disposal points.

Routine inspections of parking bays and rest areas noted the litter in these areas was minimal and typically less than when litter bins were present.

Initial feedback from road users about the removal of the bins has been mixed, with early negative reaction.

However, as the trial progressed, community feedback has been positive, particularly in regards to the push to make road users think about how they dispose of litter.

The department has confirmed it will monitor behaviour.

"While it may be considered desirable to install additional skip bins at additional heavy vehicle truck bays, we are also mindful that this may encourage other road users to camp at these dedicated truck bays,” a department response to one WA driver read.

Topics:  rubbish trash western australia

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