Clare Lions Club become recycling champions

South Australia’s wine town of Clare boasts less than 4000 people yet in a few years it has become a household waste recycling capital of Australia – thanks largely to the inspiring leadership of one Lions member – Pat Williams. 

Pat Williams shies away from titles like enviro warrior, yet in little more than a year he and his band of Green Team Lions have dramatically changed the waste disposal habits of many in Clare, 136k north of Adelaide. 

A campaign that began with a couple of pop-up information booths in Clare’s main street now has much of the town involved in a program recycling everything from soft plastics and ink cartridges to household batteries and old mobile phones. 

Not one to hold back, thanks to Pat’s passionate eco spruiking to individuals, businesses and local organisations there has been a giant turn-around in Clare’s thoughts, or lack of them, on recycling.  

Today there are club notices around town guiding locals to 15 drop-off points where items can be left for recycling, and more than 40 locals have signed to support the program. The local council is so impressed it volunteered to reprint and deliver the club’s brochure outlining the program along with rates notices to residents – at no charge.  

As the Club’s Green Team coordinator, Pat, a retired house builder and business manager, is delighted at Clare’s ready acceptance of the program after just a year’s operation – though he had no doubts it would be a winner. 

Pat already had a huge eco reputation in Clare following his Green Team’s involvement since 2014 in a project to re-establish, plant up and promote the local Gleeson Wetlands, now a mecca for naturalists, walkers and bird watchers. 

Note: This story has been adapted from a feature story by Lions magazine editor Tony Fawcett.