Great Scott, you can recycle a lot!

The Waste Education program at Cairns Libraries last year taught young and old how to ‘Recycle Right’. Sessions delivered by Cairns Regional Council’s Waste Education Officer Scott Paterson are so popular the public are looking for more. Scott’s engaging presentations are tailored to ensure age appropriate content for everyone: from kindy groups to seniors.

Scott engages with adults at Cairns Libraries
Scott engages with adults at Cairns Libraries. Image courtesy of Cairns Regional Council.

An outstanding response from Scott’s guest speaking at the Conversation Cafes, as well as the library-hosted education session to a group of local kindergarten library attendees, has prompted investigation into future involvement. On the back of ongoing positive feedback from a partnership spanning more than five years, planning is currently underway for events such as Recycling Week, Fun Palace, Conversation Café, and more education sessions for pre-schoolers.

Scott teaches children about recycling. Image courtesy of Cairns Regional Council.

In addition to hosting Waste Education sessions, Cairns Libraries provides recycling points for batteries, mobile phones, staff office stationery and printer cartridges. “Bringing Waste Education into public libraries makes recycling accessible to the community; especially harder to recycle items such as batteries and mobile phones,” Scott said.

Thanks to education, engagement and the ongoing provision of free recycling services; improved community attitudes, behaviours and a significant reduction in recycling bin contamination has resulted.

Good news stories:
• One attendee, the manager of a block of units in a nearby suburb, appreciated the presentation so much that he has begun delivering education sessions to his tenants utilising similar content and resources.
• Another library-goer happened to overhear a session on her usual weekly trip to the library. She approached Scott following the presentation to compliment Cairns Regional Council on their great work.
• Preschool groups also cannot get enough with requests for Scott’s Waste Education sessions at the library coming in thick and fast.
• Attendees at the ever-popular monthly Conversation Café are keen to secure Scott as a regular speaker on an annual basis.

About the author
Carolyn Johnson is the Community Engagement Librarian at Cairns Libraries. This story is a great example of the Realising our Potential Enabler Our place in the public realm: extending and promoting the value of the library as a vital place and service in community life.