Recycle more – waste less

One of the new Envirowaste trucks doing the rounds in town.

Sheryl Stivens, Eco Efficiency

With the September roll-out of the wheelie bin recycling system, recycling just got so much easier in Ashburton.

In other areas, combining clean plastic bottles and containers, all paper, cardboard and cans, as well as loose and empty clean plastic shopping bags, into the one recycling bin has increased recycling volumes by more than 50 per cent.

Glass is collected separately so it can be colour-sorted and sent to Auckland to be recycled into new bottles and jars to support New Zealand manufactured glass, which proudly has a 62 per cent recycled content.

Recycle more and waste less is the general aim. The red lidded bin for general waste/non recyclable items may seem small to some households. So what can be done to reduce your rubbish?

Food waste – invest in a bokashi bucket or get a worm farm working at your place. I can show you how to make these work easily.

Garden waste – set up black, plastic compost bins for your lawn clippings, weeds, prunings and other organic waste.

Do you grow new potatoes? Large cardboard boxes are great for mulching alongside your seed potatoes. Break open, flatten and lay cardboard strips on each side of your rows of seed potatoes. Cover all with a deep layer of lawn clipping mulch.

This will keep out the sunlight, increase the warmth and give you a great crop, as well as attracting earthworms to your soil.

Stop spraying your lawns so you can use the lawn clippings as a mulch and a compost layer for heat and moisture.

Single-use plastic bags seem to be capturing the headlines. A campaign led by Wellington Mayor Justin Lester is calling on the government for a charge on bags, with the vast majority of the nation’s mayors signing on in support. It’s also struck a chord with the public, where a petition by Samuel Marsden Collegiate students that calls for a 10 cent charge on plastic bags has gained more than 10,000 signatures.

Plastic bags may not be the most pressing waste matter in New Zealand but that doesn’t mean they’re unimportant. They’re arguably the most visible example of the single-use, take-make-dispose culture, which simply isn’t sustainable. And why do we even put up with single-use bags that are not strong enough to carry several glass bottles?

So if we could get people to stop and think about their consumption, even if in just a small way, shouldn’t we do that?

And there’s a pretty simple solution for single-use plastic bags, one that’s tried and true – a compulsory levy at the point of sale.

In England, plastic bag use dropped more than 85 per cent after a charge of 5 pence was introduced. Kenya and some other African countries have gone one step further and totally banned single use plastic bags.

It remains to be seen what will happen here with plastic shopping bags. The proposed levy allows flexibility and gives people freedom of choice – they can still have their bag if they pay for it.

And as shown in England, paying for bags does make a difference.

  • Workshop

Come along to the monthly FREE compost workshop to see the best system for your household organic waste.
Thursday, September 28 11.30 to 12 .30
Eco Education Centre – Ashburton Resource Recovery Park
All welcome. Inquiries call 0800 627824