Skip hire services with a focus on waste reduction

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ACT Skip Hire co-owners Robyn Bombell-Barron and Tony Barron. “We found it ridiculous what was being wasted and by how much stuff was ending up in landfill, so we wanted to do something about it,” Robyn says.

Award-winning recycler and service provider, ACT Skip Hire, recovers more than 60 per cent of all the waste that comes its way. This is a sponsored post.

PASSIONATE about recycling, ACT Skip Hire, the longest-running skip bin hire business in Canberra, has a strong focus on waste reduction, say co-owners Tony Barron and Robyn Bombell-Barron. 

Caring about the three “Rs” – reduce, reuse and recycle – is par for the course for Tony and Robyn.

“We’re different from other skip bin companies because our focus is on recycling and doing it properly,” Tony says. 

“We’re a professional, friendly and experienced family business, and want to provide the best possible service to our customers, with trained staff that can advise the best type of skip for the job.”

ACT Skip Hire offers open-top skips in sizes from 2-10 cubic metres, making life easy for anyone who’s spring cleaning, sorting out the garden, moving, clearing a house or renovating. It’s also a reliable company for tradespeople to deal with, they say. 

“With a skip there’s no need to organise multiple tip runs, just load it up, we’ll collect it and everything will be tipped out and hand-sorted into bays at the depot for resource recovery, recycling and reuse,” Robyn says.

“It is intensive, hard and dirty work but we are having a direct, tangible impact on the level of waste going to landfill in our community.”

Award-winning recycler and service provider ACT Skip Hire recovers more than 60 per cent of all the waste that comes its way and makes use of ACT Recycling and the nearby Materials Recovery Facility (MRF or recycling sorting facility), Robyn says. 

“Reusable metals go to SIMS Metal, glass goes to Sydney, tyres to Cootamundra,” she says.

“Some ceramics go to places locally that do therapeutic smashing or go in a masonry mix that’s passed on to ACT Recycling.” 

Robyn says they have customers who use their business precisely for how they handle the waste from the skips. 

“Using a skip is not the end of the line for rubbish – we really care what happens to it, and we take the time to sort it and recycle as much as we possibly can,” she says. 

Australia generates about 70 million tonnes of waste per year and Robyn and Tony found it ridiculous what was being wasted and how much stuff was ending up in landfill.

“We wanted to do something about it,” Robyn says.

“You cannot work in the waste industry and remain ignorant of the problems we are facing locally and globally regarding waste.

“We changed our operation model from waste transport to waste reduction and education, through establishing our own resource recovery facility.

“We’ve been working on the business on and off for almost 20 years, while waiting for the land to be ready [at the Hume Resource Recovery Estate], but the office was based from home. When we started, it was one truck, 40 bins, and Tony!”

The purpose-built facility, established in 2017, deals with commercial and domestic dry waste, such as all metals, masonry, green waste, paper, cardboard, tyres, mattresses, timber pallets, dirt, drink containers, soils, batteries, cartridges, laminated glass and e-waste, which goes directly to recyclers.

Let’s Recycle Canberra sells toys, tools, furniture, clothes, jewellery, books, kitchenware, ornaments and garden supplies.

And anything that’s reusable and in good condition will be sold in their op-shop, Let’s Recycle Canberra, which sells toys, tools, furniture, clothes, jewellery, books, kitchenware, ornaments and garden supplies.

“We also have loads of upcycling furniture projects for anyone interested,” says Robyn.

“We see so much stuff come through the depot in really great condition, which could be reused.

“We don’t have the space to store everything, though, so we encourage people to come down and have a look at what’s here.”

Any reusable building materials are sent on to second-hand builders’ co-ops, or sold in the shop, and ACT Skip Hire also donates a large amount of clothes and books to various charities. 

Some items are offered for free collection, from rescued timber to plastic plant pots, which Robyn says people are welcome to help themselves to.

“We ask for a gold-coin donation, which goes to Camp Quality, and people can take as much as they want,” she says. 

“We’ve also started to accept waste from a couple of other skip hire companies, which reduces their level of waste going to landfill.

“We do more than rubbish removal, we are committed to landfill reduction and protecting the environment.”

Robyn and Tony have taken every opportunity to “walk their talk”. 

“Our offices and amenities contain second-hand furnishings, and we’ve changed our operations to reduce or eliminate paper usage, and ensure that what we do use is recycled,” she says.

“We use environmentally-safe or recycled products wherever we can.

“We also installed 22,000-litre water tanks, which collect water from the centre’s roof to improve our water efficiency.”

Robyn says that ACT Skip Hire is committed to waste education, and has worked with ACT NoWaste to host visits for university and school students, private sector groups and government departments to demonstrate the company’s innovative approach.

They also share waste-reduction tips and information on social media.

And, through Actsmart’s Business Energy and Water Program, ACT Skip Hire has switched to solar, covering more than 50 per cent of its energy needs, and all lighting is done with energy-efficient globes.

“We still have a long way to go and there are many material streams that we haven’t yet found viable ways to deal with, but we’re working on it,” Robyn says.

“We’re passionate about our environment and would love to see other waste businesses go those extra miles.”

ACT Skip Hire and Let’s Recycle Canberra, 11 John Cory Road, Hume. Call 6292 8187 or visit skipbins.com.au or facebook.com/ACTSkipHire 

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