Archive for January, 2012

Unpackit Awards -nominate your best and worst packaging

January 31st, 2012

A mission from the Wanaka waste busters to reduce litter and waste with smart packaging. Nominations for the 2012 Awards close on 10th Feb – nominations are up 50% on last year and some really good ones. Want to know which packaging is good for the environment and which just looks good? Use these six simple rules to guide you on your quest to make good packaging choices.

http://www.unpackit.org

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Avoiding waste creation in the first place – recycling in the second

January 23rd, 2012

Submission: Waste management and minimisation plan

The MEVP would like to submit to the council for the following:

We would like to congratulate Auckland Council on the draft Auckland Waste Management and Minimisation Plan and hope that our input will help to focus on avoiding waste creation in the first place and recycling in the second as well as to support local waste minimisation initiatives. We believe simple rules and regulations such as the refund on bottles and a tax on plastic bags urgently needs to be put in place if we are serious about reducing waste.

About the Mount Eden Village People
The Mount Eden Village People is a non-profit community group (charitable trust) with the focus on creating a sustainable and vibrant community. We are part of the Transition Town network and have a mailing list of around 800 subscribers from mainly the Albert- Eden – Roskill Ward area. We started in 2006 and our commitment is to encourage people to grow their own food, reduce waste going to landfill and offer workshops that are designed to teach people how to live a more sustainable life. Our focus is to make recycling more accessible and easier to community members and to encourage our local shops to join our zero waste program1.

Our group now works with 1/3 of our local shops 2 to reduce waste going to landfill and offer recycling stations in our community to collect batteries and soft plastic. We have been successfully working over the years coordinating the collection of “unwanted items” (waste), educate shop owners, sourcing alternative products and finding a new home for these “unwanted items” in our community by working with community members, shop owners, farmers and local schools.

We hope that our experience will help Auckland Council to support community initiatives such as ours with the focus on avoiding waste creation in the first place and recycling in the second. We also would like to see support for alternative products such as compostable and biodegradable packaging and rules and regulations that guarantee a change from plastic items (non biodegradable and non compostable) to biodegradable and compostable packaging.

The land of the long white cloud is too beautiful to be filled with waste and we have to take action now to make sure this land can be enjoyed by future generations. Landfill is not a solution to the problem, we have to start before that.

SUBMISSION

Q1 We agree, however we would like to see this implemented before 2018

Q2 In general we agree with the idea of putting the cost of waste back to the consumer, however we see the danger of illegal dumping. We  would like to suggest that council monitor possible misuse  of  neighbours bins.

We would like to see rules and regulations (mainly for the packaging industry) to avoid waste in the first place. We believe in the big picture the cost of the waste should go back to the manufacturer. Until this is not the case we would like to see recycling and resource stations in places with easy access for community members. This could be a way to collect precious resources until the packaging industry will make the necessary changes to avoid waste in the first place.

We also would like to know how the suggested system of consumer pais works for people who live in the apartments?

We support the idea of maximum conservation of resources and we would like to see our waste being recycled/treated in New Zealand and not shipped overseas.

Q3
We agree with the suggestion to replace the bags with a standardised wheelie bin, however we would like to suggest keeping the existing standard sized bin for those who already have them so these can be reused. We don’t think that the current rubbish and recycling bin needs to be replaced. If waste is paid by pick up the size of the bin does not seem to matter. For those that have more rubbish and need a bigger bin, they can either have a second 120l rubbish bin or a 270l bin. If these bins are getting replaced, we would like to know why and what happens to them. We believe that we should first use what is already there to reduce waste and cost to the rate payer.

If Council commissions new bins we would like to see that these new bins are made in New Zealand out of recycled material.

Recycling bins:
Again, we believe that the existing bins are totally fine and should be used in the future. As we understand the colour of some of the recycling bins are yellow and some blue. We suggest to:
A)    replace the lid only
B)    keep them as they are and attach a sticker as a means of unifying  them

Q4
We support the suggestion to offer to collect organic waste to make sure organic waste does not end in landfill and to minimise waste in general. However, Auckland has already many households doing the right thing, composting organic and green waste. These people should be rewarded as they don’t  need a new food waste bin. We would appreciate it, if instead of taking the organic waste away from homes and gardens, people who prefer to keep their organic waste on their property can choose between a free compost or hungrybin and get a monthly rebate on rates. In general we would like to see an encouragement to reducing waste on- site and not taking waste away.

The suggested proposed food waste bin size seems to be too small for food and green waste together and too big for food waste only (household with two people only or a household that is working towards zero waste already). We would like Council to give people the chance to opt out if they already compost and recycle on site to save ratepayers money.

We can see the suggested food waste collection working in apartment buildings, with smaller bins and corn starch bin liner that can be kept under the sink and one big bin to collect the food waste that will be shared in the apartment building. However if people choose not to be part of this program the food waste container would be wasted.

In general we prefer to collect food waste separately from green waste for the following reason:
•    People are already used to paying for and organising green waste collection.
•    Green waste collection companies will be out of business if this will be offered as a free service from Auckland Council. Why change something that works and is established.

Q5 Other: In general we agree that the inorganic collection should be rates funded. A lot of people already turn waste into resources by collection waste on inorganic collection day. These people are the ones who already live on limited budget and the collection of waste (resources) on inorganic day give them a chance to find things and items that they can use and reuse for free. This is why we suggest the following and select other:
We suggest annual inorganic collection and a local resource centre for each ward where people can drop items throughout the year (or council could pick up for a small charge). Ideally waste collected on inorganic day will be sorted in a recycling centre before it goes to landfill. We also would like council to introduce regulation on landfill (ban of certain material from landfill).

Q6 We support Council advocating for  Product Stewardship as this is forward thinking. Rules and regulations need to be put into place if we are serious about working towards zero waste and to become an eco city. Currently consumers have no choice other than to buy a product with all the packaging. In time, alternatives for plastic and polystyrene will be available, and using alternatives should be mandatory. We believe that Product Stewardship is not the final solution and Council still needs to have a plan in for recycling stations such as for batteries and e-waste as well as packaging. Until project Stewardship is established council should support communities with their waste minimisation projects.

Why should the consumer pay for the disposal of the packaging? The cost should go back to the industry and the industry needs regulations to prevent the creation of waste in the first place.

Q7 we agree.

Q8 We support the vision to become the most liveable eco city in the world. We would like to suggest to aim for zero waste by 2018 and not 2040. We also would like to suggest a change in the wording for all future council documents from “waste” to “resources” to make sure people understand that “waste” is something that can be reused and has value.

Before waste minimisation comes waste avoidance, other suggestions:
•    Refund on bottles -we support Council advocating for Container Deposit Legislation.
•    Tax on plastic bags or mandatory charge on plastic bags.
•    Collect paper and cardboard separate. Paper and cardboard can be recycled in New Zealand if collected separately which would support New Zealand businesses.
•    Introduce a fee on litter behaviour and illegal dumping
•    No new bins: Instead of introducing 80 litre bins and 270 litre bins, use what we already have, the 120 litre bins.
•    Keep the existing recycling bins and if necessary only replace the lid or use a sticker to unify them.
•    Guidelines for packaging industry to reduce packaging and use compostable and biodegradable sources.
•    Hazardous waste such as the Hazmobile is not suitable for people’s busy lives and recycling stations/bins at supermarkets or schools would be more user friendly and promote the message of recycling, especially with hazardous waste.
•    Several collection points that are open every weekend for example to drop off batteries and eco light bulbs.
•    Support community waste initiatives financially, such as proposed in appendix 3, page 86.
•    Introduce guidelines and gradually introduce compulsory aspects for the building industry to reduce waste.
•    In a time where new solutions and green technologies are improving constantly we suggest no long term contract should be handed out to private companies.
•    Council regain control over our waste and not leave it in the hands of private companies.
•    Legislation on banning organic matter to landfill by 2018.
•    Stronger council regulations with consequences (e.g. ban on certain materials to landfill, check if recycling bins are used correctly).
•    Recycling stations for soft plastic available all over Auckland.
•    Drinking fountains be positioned around the city and suburbs to supply drinking water and to discourage the buying of water in plastic bottles.
•    Resource recovery centres managed by the community in every ward
•    Recycling stations in schools, suburbs and shopping malls.
•    Every council event to mandatory adopt zero waste practices and make the use of alternative products to non  biodegradable compulsory 3.
•    Education programs promoting consequences to the environment and fines for polluters.
•    Reward good behaviour, fines for bad behaviour, such has been successful in other countries.
•    Support local initiatives to educate community and take action to work towards zero waste.
•    Support local initiatives and with the Council listening to what communities suggest and their needs.
•    Allow for a budget for local communities to come up with their own initiatives.
•    Encourage meetings with council members and community groups on how to manage waste.
•    For new immigrants: design a waste minimisation program addressed to new immigrants and communicate the issue from the beginning.
•    Suggested solution to minimise food and garden waste: worm farm – hungybin, easy to use and no training is necessary.
•    Print future brochures on recycled paper, no spot UV on pictures.
•    Instead of adding a CD on the back of the brochure include a link where people can download the PDF files from the internet.

Kind regards

Judith Holtebrinck, Sarah Rishworth, Gail Batten, Michele Donnovan,
Steering committee MEVP

1 Working towards Zero Waste in our community – Waste minimisation:
We have established a strong relationship with our local shops and are encouraging each one of them to join our waste minimisation initiative. We coordinate recycling of food waste and coffee grounds as well as researching new products to replace non biodegradable products used in shops. Our vision for our community is to be plastic bag free and offer ongoing support and advice to our local shops and residents on how to minimise waste going to landfill and alternative solutions. We promote alternative disposal for products that are currently going to land fill such as  food waste, batteries, coffee grinds, off cuts from the picture framer,  icream containers, buckets. We work with 1/3 of the shops and would like to maintain and expand our recycling initiative. We are saving waste from landfill that now is being used to feed happy pigs, free and happy chickens and a goat.

2 Mt Eden village: is a community of 40 shops, restaurants and cafes
3. Please refer to zero waste event organised by Ngati Whatua on Waitangi day.
4 litter fines have been successfully introduced in Australia (Northern territory)
Mexico city has a  rubbish police checking on the rubbish to make sure people do not mix recycling with non recycling.

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Be the change you want to see in the world. Mahatma Gandhi