06 December 2019
Summer is here and it’s time to relax, get out the jandals, get your tickets to Ben Harper at the Bowl and sort out the pressies for Christmas. My job is to help NPDC and our District’s journey to Zero Waste 2040, and this is the perfect time for some great Zero Waste summer tips to help you go green over the holiday.
Yule help our environment
There’s one way to cut down what we throw away: don’t buy it in the first place! Going Zero Waste is all about the three Rs: reducing, reusing and recycling. Reducing can be as simple as taking some time to think if you need to buy it. If it’s a must-have for Christmas, think about good quality, reusable and recyclable materials, and how you can reduce packaging. My top tip is to carefully remove wrapping paper and then use it again for birthdays and next Christmas. Avoid metallic wrapping paper, which isn’t recyclable. You could even wrap presents in material with a ribbon – it’s old-school but cool, and great for our environment.
The right recycling stuff
As Kermit the Frog once said, it’s not easy being green. Even with the best intentions, it’s hard not to have a pile of wrapping paper and opened boxes on Christmas morning. Recycling is a key part of our journey to Zero Waste and you can help with that by checking the right stuff is going into the yellow-topped recycling bin. If the wrong stuff goes in, it can’t be recycled and goes to the landfill. My tip is to use the NPDC Recycling and Rubbish app. Download it from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store today - it’s got a quick and easy to use recycling guide. Or check out the recycling guide on our website.
Food for thought
Our new food scraps bins are proving to be a fantastic way to divert waste from going to landfill. We’re shifting 60% of our kerbside waste away from the landfill and into the recycling stream – up 40% from before the new collection service started at the end of September. Going hand in hand with Christmas is enjoying fine food with family and friends, and many of us fill our fridges for the festive feasts. We think everyone can still eat well but perhaps don’t go overboard when stocking up for Christmas and New Year. While we are able to compost all food waste, it’s even better to use all our food and not have to throw anything away. Try some great leftover recipes from Love Food Hate Waste.
Keep our place perfect
Our corner of Aotearoa is pretty special and we all want it to stay that way. Keep an eye out for the colourful bins we’ve installed at many of our favourite summer hangout spots like Brooklands Zoo, the Aquatic Centre and Ngamotu and Oakura beaches, which have compostable, recycling and landfill bins. We get around 125,000 visitors to our stunning Pukekura Park each summer for the TSB Festival of Lights and we’ll have ‘Zero Waste Stations’ again to help keep our park waste-free. The bins will also be at the TSB Bowl of Brooklands for Kiwi legends Six60 on 1 February and Ben Harper on 21 February.
Only leave your footprints
Our region’s beaches are packed each summer as locals and an increasing number of visitors enjoy the surf and chillax on our black sand beaches. Have a great time but leave only footprints! My tip is to bring a reusable container or reusable bag with you to put all your rubbish in. If you’re bringing a picnic, opt for reusable items and separate your waste into food scraps, recycling or landfill so you can easily dispose of it when you get home. If you want to do more, carry out a mini beach clean-up with your own bag – our oceans will thank you for it! Don’t forget to take care if you head into the sea and stay sunsmart by wearing a hat and slapping on sun lotion.
A green future
We know the people of our District strongly support our Zero Waste 2040 vision but it’s going to take a lot of hard work on top of the $21.2m we’re investing over the next 10 years to get there. As part of our journey in the year gone, we’ve rolled out a new kerbside food scraps collection service which has so far helped keep about 60% of household rubbish out of the landfill, and trialled a unique roading system which makes asphalt out of hard to recycle plastic containers. In the year ahead we’re looking forward to opening our new reuse and recycling centre, The Junction. It will be developed in stages to become a place for all things Zero Waste, where people can drop-off items for reuse and upcycling, and there will be education programmes and workshops to help us all learn more about how to go Zero Waste.
Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everyone. Let’s talk more next year.
NPDC Manager Resource Recovery