Fleet to take War on Waste initiative to next level

Published on LEUT Geoff Long (author), LSIS Steven Thomson (photographer)

Location(s): Fleet Base East, NSW

Topic(s): Environment

Commodore Robert Plath, left, and Captain Bernard York from the Fleet War on Waste Committee, on the wharf opposite HMAS Sydney at Garden Island, Sydney. (photo: LSIS Steven Thomson)
Commodore Robert Plath, left, and Captain Bernard York from the Fleet War on Waste Committee, on the wharf opposite HMAS Sydney at Garden Island, Sydney.

Buoyed by a significant reduction in landfill waste over the last year, the Fleet War on Waste Committee is preparing to expand its activities at ships and bases nationally and encourage wider participation in its waste reduction efforts across Navy.

A Fleet-wide campaign to reduce waste via improved recycling options commenced at Fleet Base East in conjunction with Defence waste management partner Veolia last year.

Over the past 12 months, Fleet Base East has averaged a 14% reduction in the amount of garbage sent to landfill.

Deputy Fleet Commander and sponsor of the War on Waste Committee, Commodore Robert Plath, said that the next steps are to extend the initiatives to other bases starting with HMAS Stirling, and to increase participation by inviting more Navy members to become involved in the community.

“It has been pleasing to see the effort that has led to a reduction in waste going to landfill, but the key message is that we want to maintain that momentum and expand the War on Waste community.

“We need a core community to sustain the effort but unless everyone is involved across the organisation, it’s very hard to make real change,” Commodore Plath said.

HMAS Stirling will be the next base to introduce a range of waste management initiatives in conjunction with Veolia, including a new range of Australian-made bins from 100% recycled plastic and wharf-side recycling optimisation.

Commanding Officer Stirling Captain Ainsley Morthorpe said there was a groundswell of enthusiasm for initiatives that reduce waste and build on the base’s popular annual ‘Clean Up Stirling Day’.

“The Fleet War on Waste initiative has slotted nicely into this narrative and will include ‘waste champions’ and other initiatives we are adopting at a micro level. And at a macro level we’re introducing large scale waste systems for industrial waste, along with a new and modern sewerage treatment and water conservation measures,” Captain Morthorpe said.

“Command will continue to work off the enthusiasm shown to make our living environment a better place by adopting best practice for waste management,” he said.

Up until recently activities have been guided by a War on Waste Committee involving Navy and its industry partners. That work will now be transitioned to a War on Waste Community Forum, which will welcome broader participation from all interested parties.

The transition to a twice yearly Fleet War on Waste Community Forum will allow wider participation from across Navy, Defence, and industry for the exchange of information, ideas, and innovation.

“The Fleet War on Waste Community will give a voice to the passionate waste reduction champions throughout the Fleet to ensure that our recycling and garbage reduction strategies continue to divert waste away from landfill,” said Captain Bernard York, Director Fleet Logistics.

To ensure that waste reduction becomes business-as-usual across the Fleet, the Maritime Safety Bureau will now take carriage of waste reduction activities under the Environmental Services section. The Fleet War on Waste Forum will be co-chaired by Director Maritime Safety Bureau and Director Fleet Logistics.

The decision-making aspects of the War on Waste Committee will be undertaken by the Fleet Safety Committee so that waste reduction direction can be distributed widely and consistently throughout the Command network.