Resources companies are some of the highest emission producers in the country, but that’s not stopping some of the Pilbara’s biggest players from taking steps to reduce their environmental impact.
Yara Pilbara, Woodside and Rio Tinto have made inroads into the war on waste this year, with all three companies implementing new initiatives focused on reducing, reusing and recycling.
Yara is leading the way with a ban on the use of disposable cups saving the company $20,000 a year.
Site services co-ordinator Rob Scott is leading the charge at the fertiliser giant, saying it was obvious industry as a whole could and should be doing better.
“We were using about 1000 cups a day, which was unbelievable considering there are 200 people on site,” he said.
Single-use plastic cups were the kick-off initiative, with the company now moving its focus to the establishment of a waste services contract on site.
“Industry is shocking for not recycling where they can, but our contract will be based around recycling everything from office waste to steel,” Mr Scott said.
Meanwhile, Woodside is focusing on waste reduction initiatives at its sites, including providing reusable food containers at accommodation villages.
A spokeswoman for the company said all waste from Woodside’s facilities is segregated to maximise recycling opportunities.
“For example, cans and plastic waste are baled for recycling, scrap metals are consolidated and taken to a local recycler, and glass bottles are crushed and reused as a road base,” she said.
Environment Minister Stephen Dawson said he applauds those making changes to their habits and processes to reduce their environmental impact.
“Reducing environmental impact is an ongoing task and something we can always improve,” he said.
“Resource companies can do simple things like reduce their use of single-use plastic and look at how to better recycle redundant equipment and machinery.”
A Rio Tinto spokeswoman said they have engaged in a campaign to encourage the use of reusable bags at village dining and retail facilities in camps and Pilbara towns.
“The company is also working on a suite of initiatives to reduce consumption of single-use plastic across our sites,” she said.
Mr Scott said anything resource companies can do is a benefit.
“I’m passionate about where we live, I love the Pilbara and we’re very lucky to be able to operate in this region,” he said.
“So whatever we can do to minimise our impact, we have to do.”