Last year we ran some really excellent and successful workshops.
One of these events was our Free Waste Educator training day, which ran on the 10th of November for anyone who wanted to learn more about volunteering at the Zero Waste Ostend Market and other Zero Waste events around the island. Our goal was to have people leave the event more aware of the reality of recycling, composting and waste on our Island.
We kicked the day off with a short quiz challenge followed by a korero about what zero waste actually means. We then ran a fun competition where two teams were given a bag of waste and they had to decide what bin it went in. We finished off the day with some positive engagement about how to be a waste educator and what that means. After this super inspiring day we thought we would share some of what we learnt about waste management on Waiheke, so that you can go on and educate others!
Michael Tavares from Waiheke’s Resource Recovery Park came and taught us about ‘wishcycling’ and how important it is that we break these habits. Wishcycling is when you throw something into the recycling bin without first checking if it was recyclable. He taught us how to check our waste by teaching us how to read recycling triangles as they let us know what type of plastic we are dealing with and whether it’s recyclable. These triangles are usually found on the bottom of containers or on the underside of the piece of plastic you are wanting to recycle. The number displayed inside the triangle will determine what type of plastic it is and whether it will be recyclable or not.
It’s important to know what actually is recyclable in New Zealand or what has guaranteed buyers abroad. In NZ, plastics 1, 2 and 5 are recyclable. Clean paper and cardboard can also be recycled, but only as long as it’s separated correctly. We recycle cans, steel tins, and glass bottles, only glass also gets separated into different colours (green, brown or clear).
Here’s some tips that Michael taught us that help ensure that your recycling doesn’t end up in the landfill:
- Make sure you wash your recyclables because if they are sticky or oily they may contaminate the rest of the recycling, sending the whole load to landfill.
- Try and remove lids if possible as the lids are often a completely different plastic and they can’t be recycled together. Plastic number 2 lids can be left on as both the bottle and the lid are the same plastic. You can leave the ring on but if you’re feeling super awesome, removing the ring is always helpful!
- If you want to know if your bottle is made from PET, it will generally have a large dimple on the bottom which helps you identify it.
- You can tell aluminum and steel cans apart by using a magnet, aluminum is not magnetic due to its crystal structure so the magnet won’t stick.
To ensure that your recycling gets recycled, taking your separated and clean recycling to the Waiheke Resource Recovery Park (what used to be the Transfer Station). The team there have guaranteed buyers for the specific waste streams, meaning your recycling won’t end up in landfills.
It was an awesome day and we all learnt heaps! Us and the Zero Waste Volunteers left feeling super inspired, with lots of sign-ups to upcoming Zero Waste events. A huge thank you to everyone who came along and everyone who signed up for the future!