Sunday, April 14, 2024

Meet Auckland’s recycling warriors

From sushi containers to construction waste, bicycles to beer, the inspiring stories of those helping reuse and recycle items that were once considered waste have been celebrated at the 2022 Tāmaki Makaurau Zero Waste Awards.

“We are pleased to acknowledge and celebrate the hard work of Aucklanders striving to reduce waste across our city,” said General Manager of Waste Solutions at Auckland Council, Parul Sood.

“Auckland Council extends its heart-felt thanks and appreciation for all the Zero Waste Award nominees and the winners. These projects inspire us to keep innovating and keep doing our part to minimise waste in whatever sphere we’re in,” she said.

Judges Carla Gee (EcoMatters), Michael Maahs (Waiheke Resources Trust), Ngarimu Blair (Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei), and Parul Sood (Auckland Council, Waste Solutions General Manager) selected winners as well as highly commending several other entries in each of the five categories.

  • Rangatahi Leadership Award – Rangatahi, rangawhenua, rangatangata. The winner is Henderson Valley School’s Green Team and Waste Minimisation Focus Group. The group worked hard over the past two years to find a better solution for 2,000 plastic sushi containers being used in the school each year. Their solution was to switch to packaging that is now composted in the school’s worm farms, with the resulting worm tea and castings used to help grow food in the school gardens for its Garden to Table programme.
  • Growing the Movement Award – Whakakanohi i te kaupapa para kore. The winner is Rachel Trinder, the Waste Minimisation and Site Clearance Construction and Innovation Manager at Kāinga Ora. Rachel has helped change the organisation’s approach to waste coming from site clearances. In the past, old houses were demolished, but now they are soft stripped and deconstructed or relocated. As a result, more than 20,000 tonnes of waste has been kept out of landfill, a diversion rate of 87 per cent.
  • Community Collaboration Award – Hā ora, Hāpori. The winner is the Resource Recovery Room – part of the network set up by the ME Family Services’ Talking Trash initiative. Working with hundreds of local businesses, organisations, and whānau, goods and materials that would otherwise end up in landfill are traded and exchanged. Since mid-2019, Talking Rubbish has rehomed nearly 70,000 kilos of goods through their Resource Recovery Room and Network to over 500 whānau.
  • Cultural Connection Award – Whīria te ahurea, whīria te kaitīakitanga. The winner is S Double S Services, who are on a mission to get more families on bikes, through their free bike refurbishing and donation scheme in Ōtara. Founder Scott Tulua volunteers his own time to fix the bikes, and teaches children how to ride and maintain their refurbished bikes. Since March 2021, S Double S have repaired 1,800 bikes.
  • Innovation Award – Anga whakamua. The winner is Citizen Collective who are raising awareness about and actively reducing food waste in Aotearoa. Their innovative processes and products use edible surplus food, or edible food production by-products that would otherwise be destined as waste, to make items including bread, wine, beer, and cherry cola.

This year’s awards were organised by EcoMatters Environment Trust, with support from Uru Whakaaro, and in partnership with Auckland Council, as part of its aspirational goal for Tāmaki Makaurau to be zero waste by 2040.

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