New Zealand waste recycling

How many businesses in Dunedin have a zero waste policy or strategies in place for minimisation of waste and packaging? Would the city and regional councils even care? Do they facilitate? What is Otago Chamber of Commerce advocating to its membership?

Link received from Hype O’Thermia
Saturday, 5 April 2014 10:54 a.m.

### Last updated 05:00 05/04/2014
Recycling buyers losing patience
By Abbie Napier
On your way to work you stop and grab a takeaway coffee. A few minutes later, you make the point of putting it in the recycling bin, secure in the knowledge you’ve done your bit for global warming today. A few hours later, a recycling collection truck comes by and ferries the recycling bin contents to a sorting plant. Diligent and nimble-fingered staff grab your takeaway cup off the conveyor belt and throw it into the rubbish pile headed for landfill.

Contrary to popular belief, cardboard takeaway coffee cups are no longer being recycled. Neither are plastic bottle caps, supermarket shopping bags, pizza boxes or beer boxes.

New Zealand is reliant on the custom of foreign recycling companies which set the standards, and they are getting fussy. New Zealand has no recycling facilities. There are plenty of collecting and sorting depots, but none can actually recycle the material they collect. Instead, Kiwi companies sort and grade items. Companies from China, Indonesia, India and Vietnam then tender for a shipment of a certain grade of paper, plastic or aluminium. Bales are stacked into shipping containers and sent overseas, where they are eventually recycled.

Mastagard is the South Island’s largest independently-owned recycling and waste collection company. Quality assurance and shipping manager Dave Oberholzer said the recycling industry was changing. In the past five months, he has had to slowly start excluding items like takeaway coffee cups from his recycling operation. Oberholzer said if a centrally-located recycling facility was set up in New Zealand, it would be well used. It would stop the recycling industry from being dictated by foreign companies and would cost less for local companies.
Read more

Have you visited Whitcoulls ‘revamped’ store in George Street lately? Books and magazines have been pushed to the back of store, book displays promoting new titles are ho-hum (so bad, why bother?), try finding the book section that interests you… Replacing the books at front of store are shelves and shelves of hideous brightly-coloured ‘over-packaged’ childrens toys and education aids.

With these changes, Whitcoulls transcends the last ten or so years of middle-of-the-road dullness. Not in a good way. Apart from nearly going bust, the company has made the large premises mind-numbingly awful – functionally and aesthetically. This is Cringe Palace.

What is Whitcoulls telling New Zealand families? “Welcome to the throw-away age!” “Books, what are books?! (we don’t know)” “Buy cheap trash from shipping containers, manufactured by overseas underclasses!” “Fight your way through the packaging!” “These products can’t be recycled here, that’s a good thing!” Et cetera.

Whitcoulls has been diminished and devalued by its owners and directors. The retail market is always hard, especially for ‘average’ book stores. But for ‘imagining the scene’ that promotes child and adult education and entertainment, if not stationery supplies… Whitcoulls has concussion and blindness. By abandoning and denying innovation and inspiration, Whitcoulls fails all the challenges that make New Zealand retail fun and edgy.

Whitcoulls George Street resembles another $2 store, with huge mark-ups. The proud historical Whitcoull’s brand is LOST. Packaged Junk is now the primary ‘store presence’. Ghastly.

We won’t be back.

Related Post and Comments:
5.12.09 Dunedin’s kerbside waste collections

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Business, DCC, Democracy, Design, Economics, Geography, Innovation, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Politics, Project management, Urban design

8 responses to “New Zealand waste recycling

  1. Ray

    I found this about Swiss recycling and wondered if we could make this city a recycling city for NZ?

    • Hype O'Thermia

      “To ensure that they are not dumped in places where they could damage the environment, Switzerland has instituted a system of recycling taxes which are included in the purchase price of these goods.” This is a big version of what we used to do with bottles. Your beer or fizzy drink cost a certain amount, we didn’t think of it as a tax, it was just the normal price for a bottle of drink. Most adults didn’t seem to bother unless they had a lot of bottles cluttering up the place. But for kids it was great – the money from a couple of fizz bottles bought a good bag of lollies. And groups like the Scouts held Bottle Drives, going door to door, parents and anyone with a suitable vehicle driving along, taking the boxes of bottles back to the bottle-o (bottle buyer who sorted them and sold them on to the brewers.
      The cost of handling and washing became “too high” – unprofitable. It was cheaper to use thinner cheaper glass bottles not designed to stand up to repeated handling and re-using.

      Here’s where “the market” is a load of toss.

      OF COURSE business makes the sensible decisions, is best at making decisions FOR BUSINESS, which is why government needs to interfere in business on behalf of all the parts of society that are not [that] business. The Libertarian, ACT, Roger Douglas etc mantra that the market knows best fails because of the narrow limits of what the market knows and can be reasonably expected to give a flying fork about. By setting the socially neutral-to-beneficial boundaries* within which business, the market, can operate we would have the best blend of government and private enterprise.

      *but otherwise keeping out of the way.

  2. Ray, thanks for both links !! We have a long way to go…

  3. Dunedin City Council
    Waste Management and Minimisation Plan

    The DCC has a responsibility under the Waste Minimisation Act (2008) to ‘promote effective and efficient waste management and minimisation’ and, for this purpose, to ‘adopt a waste management and minimisation plan’.
    The Plan has been informed by a district-wide waste assessment. The full and final waste assessment report is appended to the Plan.
    As well as the waste assessment, the DCC has consulted widely with stakeholders and special interest groups to plan and prioritise actions which will progress waste minimisation efforts and make improvements to waste management practices.
    The Plan is supportive of a collaborative approach which will strengthen working relationships. The position taken understands that, to achieve zero waste, all factions must work together purposefully.
    How the Plan will achieve its community outcomes will be presented in the DCC’s Long Term Plan (LTP). This includes how the DCC will fund waste and diverted material services and facilities over the LTP period.

    Waste minimisation
    We adopted the Waste Management and Minimisation Plan in 2013. This provides the direction for waste minimisation to be achieved. Its vision statement is: ‘Dunedin, a sustainable city in which ‘waste’ is transformed into a beneficial material or is returned benignly to nature’. Dunedin needs to reduce the solid waste it sends to landfill to achieve our target of zero waste to landfill. We work closely with residents, schools, businesses and manufacturers to effect waste reduction.


    Otago Regional Council
    Regional Plan: Waste

    The Regional Plan: Waste for Otago (the Waste Plan) assists us in managing Otago’s waste issues.
    Regional plan preparation is optional under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA), except for the preparation of regional coast plans. We decided to prepare the Waste Plan to assist us in carrying out our functions under the RMA.
    The purpose of the Waste Plan is to provide an integrated approach to waste issues with the aim of reducing the adverse effects associated with Otago’s waste stream. To achieve this, the Waste Plan has policies and methods (which include rules) to address the waste issues facing Otago.
    The Waste Plan covers the Otago region, excluding the coastal marine area.
    This Council publicly notified the Waste Plan in May 1994. Following the process of submissions, hearings and appeals, Council made the Waste Plan operative on 11 April 1997.

    If you’re thinking of carrying out any of the following activities in Otago:
    • disposal of waste
    • discharging hazardous waste
    • disturbing land at contaminated sites
    • operating facilities for the treatment or disposal of hazardous wastes
    • discharging oil or substances containing oil as a dust suppressant on formed roads
    • discharging contaminants from landfills (including farm landfills, clean-fill landfills, greenwaste landfills and offal pits)
    • discharging contaminants from composting and silage production.

    You should read the rules in the Waste Plan to see:
    • if you can carry it out as a permitted activity,
    • if you require a resource consent to carry it out, or
    • if you cannot carry it out because it’s a prohibited activity.

    A resource consent is required for any activity the Waste Plan states as being a: controlled activity, discretionary activity, or a non-complying activity.
    The Water Plan has rules to control the discharge of contaminants to land or water from activities not covered by the Waste Plan.

    Waste Minimisation
    Waste minimisation refers to any methodology which can be used to minimise the production and toxicity of waste by modifying existing processes and behaviours. It also encompasses integrated waste management and cleaner production:
    · Integrated waste management focuses on the concepts of reducing the amount of waste produced at source, reusing, recycling and recovering materials from the waste stream.
    · Cleaner production involves minimising the raw materials and energy used in production, avoiding the generation of harmful wastes, and producing products and services which do not harm the environment during their use and disposal.
    Importantly, waste minimisation can be implemented by any sector of society. Therefore a key part of waste minimisation is the provision of technical information to the public, interest groups, and the generators of waste, and the promotion and encouragement of waste minimisation.
    Waste Minimisation (PDF, 88 KB)

  4. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sat, 20 Sep 2014
    Flexible recycling in pipeline
    By Chris Morris
    Fresh plans for an inner-city recycling service in Dunedin have been welcomed by apartment dwellers in the city’s warehouse precinct. However, the Dunedin City Council – which is surveying residents and businesses about the idea – says it was already clear any new system would have to be flexible to cater for a variety of needs.
    Read more

    █ Feedback from businesses and residents would help shape options for the new service, which would then be presented to the council on November 25. Public consultation would follow as part of next year’s budget hearings, and it was hoped a new service could be up and running in 2015-16.

  5. Elizabeth

    “We need to do better as a country in how we manage plastics.” –Nick Smith

    ### Last updated 14:56, July 18 2015
    Plastic shopping bags to finally be recyclable in new project
    Plastic shopping bags will now be recyclable under $1.2 million government project. Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced on Saturday the government is partnering with the retail sector and packaging industry to allow recycling of thousands of tonnes of plastics like shopping bags that currently cannot be recycled.
    “The problem is that soft plastics like shopping bags, bread bags, frozen food bags and food wrap are not accepted by kerbside recycling services and cannot currently be recycled in New Zealand. We are investing in a new drop-off recycling service at stores and new recycling infrastructure that will enable soft plastics to be re-used,” Smith said.
    Read more

    The new project will take all soft plastic bags – basically anything made of plastic which can be scrunched into a ball.

  6. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sun, 19 Jul 2015
    Dunedin leads in glass recycling
    By Brenda Harwood
    Dunedin is proving to be one of the country’s most successful recycling cities, gathering more than 9000 tonnes of recyclables at the kerbside and through community facilities each year. The city also leads the country in glass recycling, with kerbside colour-sorting resulting in “zero contamination”, thereby allowing 100% of the city’s glass to be recycled.
    Read more

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