Petra Richter, Jindabyne local reducing landfill
Jindabyne local Petra Richter started picking up litter from the side of the road during her regular runs, which began under COVID-19 restrictions.
Between April and September 2020, she collected an incredible 760kg of rubbish. Often she lugged heavy items with her as she ran, telling herself it only enhanced the workout.
Petra says that collecting litter while exercising has created a cleaner environment and increased her fitness and strength at the same time.
On top of her roadside rubbish collection, Petra recently began promoting and increasing participation in the Return and Earn NSW Container Deposit Scheme in Jindabyne. She has set up six dedicated Return and Earn bins for containers that she personally collects, sorts and deposits. There are two bins at Jindabyne Central School – the school her own children attend – and four at local shopping centres.
The inspiration behind this initiative was Petra’s desire to engage her own children, and local children and teachers about litter. “I saw the need for educating young people and teachers about recycling. And using Return and Earn was one way of starting the process,” she says.
It’s not easy work sorting the smelly bins, she says, as lots of people still throw other rubbish into the container bins. Petra adds that her three sons all help out.
“We still have to do lots of education around this,” she says. “I’d like to get some of the kids at school to do a presentation to their peers about what goes into the bins and what doesn’t.”
As well as the container recycling Petra does, she always recycles anything she can from her roadside litter pickups, such as returning scrap metals. This has meant she was able to raise some money towards a well-earned family holiday.
However, all the funds raised from the dedicated Return and Earn bins she set up go to Jindabyne Central School. “I would love to see the money go into a gardening project or something related to the environment, so kids can learn from it and get some hands-on experience with composting and stuff like that,” says Petra.
“I’m determined to reduce waste that goes into landfill,” she says. “Every little bit makes a difference.”