Recently I've been working with Sue-Ellen at Karamea Dump and Glenn Irving from Buller District Council to improve our waste management services in Karamea. Currently hard plastics, tin and cardboard can be recycled at the Dump for free. Once collected they are transported to Westport for further sorting. As far as I can tell, the cardboard is recycled in NZ, the plastics are shipped via Auckland to be incinerated/recycled on the shores of poorer South-east Asian Countries such as Malasia, and our tin is sold overseas to Australia/Asia for recycling. Our glass currently goes into the dump along with the rest of our rubbish and green waste. That's if it gets to the dump in the first place. I know many local farms have a dump hole on their own land that everything gets thrown into and periodically burnt or buried.
I think we can do better.
This month a proposal that a glass granulator is installed at the Dump will be presented at Buller Distirct Council. We have one dump hole and when it's full it's full - all the glass that is currently filling up the hole could be turned back into sand and shared as a resource for building/gardening within our community. Makes sense to me.
There are two conversations here... how to deal with the waste we are producing, and how to limit bringing unwanted waste into our lives in the first place. It's a huge conversation and I believe action needs to be taken on personal, community, industry and governmental policy levels.
I'd love to see Karamea becoming a waste free community, with our green waste being turned into rich compost for our gardens, and a complete phase out of single use plastic. Maybe we could be separating our plastic on site (or at home) I know I'm not the only one thinking these things. So how do we get there?
I'd like to use this thread to continue the conversation about how we manage our waste... I don't have all the ansers, but reckon we'll be stronger together, what do you think?
https://www.mfe.govt.nz/waste - useful vid on circular economy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eym10GGidQU - Inspirational zero waste rural Japenese town - Could we do this?
https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/better-business/100630697/recycling-industry-scrambles-to-solve-our-dirty-waste-secret - couple of years old now, but still relevant
https://www.nzgeo.com/stories/waste-not-want-not/ - stories about what we're throwing away in NZ
http://www.recycle.co.nz/problemsize.php - info on recycling in NZ
https://www.futurepost.co.nz/ - Where some plastics are ending up in the North Island due to innovative plastic fence post design