John Phillips OAMJohn Phillips OAMExecutive Director

Report from the Executive Director

In the Millennium year of 2000, Keep South Australia Beautiful reviewed the organisation’s roles and responsibilities in terms of community engagement and emerging environmental challenges at that time.

One outcome of the review was to modernise our brand to ‘KESAB environmental solutions‘.

As Executive Director of KESAB, in the KESAB 2000 Annual Report I stated;

“environmental solutions may appear a little provocative to those that consider KESAB as just litter! Our new brand seeks to extend the window of opportunity to deliver new programs and information exchange whereby the community takes greater responsibility to manage the environment”

Nearly two decades on it is only reasonable to now ask the question of KESAB and the South Australian community; have we as a collective taken greater responsibility for and has there been environmental improvement since 2000? If the answer is yes, what are the improvements and benefits? My view is the answer is an overwhelming YES!

KESAB has extended the window of opportunity demonstrated by increased community engagement reflected through examples of environmental sustainability actions and community participation.

The KESAB 2000 Annual Report detailed outcomes of Litter Dynamics with special focus on ‘Stop Trashing our National Highways’, Tidy Towns, Road Watch, Clean Waters, Clean Up Australia Day, Danny the Drip and Inspector Plod Litter campaigns, Clean Site, opening of the Wingfield Education Centre and development of the ‘KESAB Positive Litter Control Guides to Local Government’.

The KESAB 2018 Annual Report reflects not only a broader scope of environmental sustainability education initiatives and partnerships, but also increased community capacity building and resilience and the ability for South Australians to restore and preserve our environment through active participation in dynamic programs. *Refer Fast Facts pages in this Annual Report.

Iconic programs including Clean Site, Road Watch and Sustainable Communities (formerly Tidy Towns) are alive and well albeit delivered in changed format. New programs, such as Litter Less, Source to Tap, Wipe Out Waste, Respect It Don’t Wreck It Graffiti and NRM Education, underscore significantly increased reach and engagement through government, schools, and municipal and community stakeholders.

Initiatives including delivery of targeted learning, professional development and training embracing resource recovery best practice (we do not just recycle anymore!), understanding our waste streams through household audits and waste assessments included in the engaging Wipe Out Waste program funded through Green Industries SA, provides research and data encouraging strategic development of new opportunities embracing community take up of environmental sustainability action.

KESAB has developed smart and contemporary education and information resources through new partnerships and is increasingly recognised for this development such as APY Lands and Sims Metal Management education microsites.

In addition to our focus on South Australian environmental activities, KESAB has also expanded to be a global sustainability leader sharing our skills, learning and resources through training and service delivery partnerships in India, Mongolia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Kiribati.

Whilst not all that is touched on in this report is totally accredited to KESAB, many outcomes have been influenced and supported behind the scenes maximising school education and action, improved business practices and Corporate Social Responsibility, business stewardship and community support.

Some of our challenges are yet to be fully achieved.

Whilst the KESAB Litter Index reflects a reduction in overall litter, May 2018 data shows smokers are still the biggest littering group, highways the most littered sites and the combination of convenience food packaging and plastic litter pollution remains unacceptable.

Federal and State governments announced during the year specific focus on recovery and recycling of packaging will be embedded in new national strategic targets to make all plastic recyclable by 2023.

The subtlety however is that whilst recyclability is a great step forward, the ultimate objective is to reduce the amount of plastic at source and ensure that the residual product is recycled, underpinning the circular economy approach adopted by respective governments.

The South Australian Waste Strategy 2015–2020 is a key driver to improve resource recovery and waste diversion and KESAB is actively engaged in developing and facilitating education and services with local government and business sectors underscoring the Waste Strategy which is currently being reviewed.

KESAB envisages an increased role in the future to educate community behaviour and practices ensuring recycling and waste diversion targets are achieved. From a KESAB perspective, funding income equates to cost of service and our overall capacity to deliver, which is increasingly difficult to balance.

Whilst some $12 million from the Waste to Resource Levy was hypothecated back to the local councils and waste and industrial sectors in April 2018 following forecast impacts of the ‘China Sword’ policy and there is stronger focus on circular economy demanding improved community resource recovery and separation performance, KESAB strongly argues that to facilitate and deliver education and community programs including remote APY Lands recycling, maximising schools and student reach and engagement and rural areas, requires contribution from the Waste Levy.

KESAB program outcomes alone have value added to South Australia immeasurably (tens of millions of dollars plus volunteer effort) leading and facilitating environmental sustainability education and performance at the coal face.

South Australia has come a long way since 2000 and whilst we have all achieved in the name of the environment, there are many challenges that continue to require action including behaviour and change of old habits to new sustainability culture supported by education and community action.

KESAB looks forward to continuing our part in South Australia as we endeavour to meet the ultimate ‘environmental solution’.