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?
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Saturday, 5 April 2014 10:54 a.m.
### stuff.co.nz 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.
WHITCOULLS CRINGE PALACE – DUNEDIN
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.
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