Gnaraloo identified the need for Gnaraloo Reduce Reuse Recycle initiatives during 2005 to better manage the large volume of rubbish produced by visitors and waste streams from other onsite activities, given the environmental sensitivity, biodiversity values and beauty of the area. Gnaraloo focused on glass and aluminium containers to start managing the waste going to its two landfill areas. It introduced an onsite recycling program during 2007 through installation and use of recycling bin systems at the tourism accommodation nodes at the Gnaraloo Homestead area and 3Mile Camp to separate these materials from other waste, at source. The initiative worked well and was supported by guests and visitors to Gnaraloo.
Gnaraloo also identified the need to better manage its landfill areas since the separated recyclable glass and aluminium containers moved to these areas remained there as unsightly stockpiles given that the necessary infrastructure and ability did not exist to remove the materials offsite for recycling.
Keep australia Beautiful (KAB) and The Coca Cola Foundation supported Gnaraloo’s financial investment and endeavour to start addressing this issue through a Beverage and Container Recyling Community Grant in 2011. Gnaraloo manufactured its own crusher machine to process the stockpiled recyclable materials and its staff, Willing Workers on Organic Farms (wwoofers) and backpacker workforce invested many hours of labour in hot unhospitable conditions to sort, separate and crush the glass and aluminium containers. The extension of the GRRRP during 2011/12 resulted in 13 tonne of recyclable glass and 1 tonne of aluminium containers from Gnaraloo landfill areas being sent to Perth for offsite recycling, through a partnership with Ruggies Recycling.
KAB and The Coca Cola Foundation again supported Gnaraloo during 2012/13 to help remove more of the stockpiled recyclable materials in the Gnaraloo landfill areas. Gnaraloo extended the GRRRP to include plastics and work was undertaken to remove 20 tonne of recyclable glass and aluminium from Gnaraloo to Perth for recycling.
Re-use of material is common at Gnaraloo. Anything that can be reinvented and given a second life is kept and stored for use at a later date. Guests at Gnaraloo are encouraged to reduce rubbish by ‘packing for Gnaraloo’ (by leaving the packaging of required supplies at home and transferring these items into containers instead that can be taken home after use). Guests are also asked to remove items with them when they leave Gnaraloo that will not easily or quickly break down or compact in the Gnaraloo landfill areas, such as torn tarps, broken chairs or surfboards.
Gnaraloo’s motto is ‘Take what you bring and leave only footprints’.
Gnaraloo intends to continue to manage, process and reduce stockpiled recyclable materials in the Gnaraloo landfill areas in future. A percentage of all Gnaraloo’s income funds the Gnaraloo Reduce Reuse Recycle Program and other environmental programs, such as the Gnaraloo Turtle conservation Program and Gnaraloo Feral Animal Control Program to ensure their operation and continuation. Money from the sale of recyclable materials is re-invested into operation, continuation and further extension of the GRRRP.
Before Gnaraloo started the GRRRP, rubbish that may otherwise be recycled was buried onsite where it remained forever. Large landfills in wilderness areas reduce visual amenity, consume valuable space that should be habitat for native flora and fauna, pose safety hazards and create disagreeable legacies for future generations. The GRRRP demonstrates that there are viable alternatives to burying and burning rubbish onsite in remote wilderness areas.