Aurélie Patzak loves Australia, but she doesn’t love how we treat our waste.
Better known as Lilly, the Belgian national has lived in Australia for 11 years. She’s been in Weipa for two years and has entrenched herself in the community, setting up her own recycling scheme.
“I completely fell in love with this country and travelled for numerous years from one side to the other until I made the tropics my home,” she said.
“I lived in Darwin for five years and have been living in Weipa for two. We just bought a house here so we are here for a while.
“When my husband and I moved to Weipa, it was quite disheartening to see all of our waste going into one bin. So much can be recycled but instead, it all ends in our landfill.”
Lilly said she was an advocate for change and it did not sit right with her.
“The world is in crisis and I felt everyone should be doing something to minimise our negative impact on the world,” she said.
“I was on maternity leave and as I had some time on my hand I scoured the internet in the hope to find some organisations that would allow me to recycle for the community and make a positive impact.
“I found exactly what I was looking for when I discovered TerraCycle.”
TerraCycle is an innovative recycling company that has become a global leader in recycling materials that are often hard to recycle.
TerraCycle offers free recycling programs funded by brands, manufacturers, and retailers around the world to help you collect and recycle your hard-to-recycle waste.
“I contacted them and asked if I could recycle for my community rather than individually,” Lilly said.
“They were excited about my project and jumped on board.”
She has set up a Facebook page called EcoCape and sets up a market stall in near the Weipa Shopping Centre to collect recyclables.
“I understand the limitation of being so remote but in this day and age it is inexcusable to have so few recycling options,” she said.
“We have some recycling options in Weipa but no one knows about it as it is not really made public.
“I had to do extensive research to find out that we can recycle cardboard boxes, paper, metal including clean food tins, batteries at the dump and soft plastic at Woolworths.
“When I posted our recycling options on social media, I received a lot of responses, many people that lived in Weipa for a long time did not know about it.
“We are so lucky to live on the Cape, it is one of the last pristine environments left in the world, it is our duty as citizens to look after it.”
However, even recycling has its limitations as the recycling process is energy intensive.
“The end goal is to become more mindful of our consumption, avoid to purchase items that are heavy on packaging and think before we buy.”