Blue bins bear fruit

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Janie Smith

THEY may be on the verge of be­com­ing ob­so­lete, but Auck­land city’s re­cy­cling bins are get­ting a new lease of life.

One Mt Al­bert fam­ily has found a mul­ti­tude of uses for the bins, which will be re­placed on Mon­day with larger wheelie bins.

Julie Craig was given a stack of re­cy­cling bins by her brother, who had been us­ing them as props in a show, and de­cided to put them to good use.

“We used to live in Ma­nurewa and when we moved, we took our en­tire gar­den with us in re­cy­cling bins. We planted some into the gar­den and kept some in the bins.”

Hav­ing a mo­bile gar­den al­lowed the Craigs to grow more toma­toes this year, be­cause they could move the bins into sunny ar­eas.

She even has her brother grow­ing things in his leftover bins.

Mrs Craig’s hus­band Derek is the gar­dener at the How­ick His­tor­i­cal Vil­lage and both have hor­ti­cul­tural back­grounds.

They are part of the Her­itage Seed Savers, an or­gan­i­sa­tion that grows her­itage plants and swaps seeds, so they have a seed bank be­tween friends.

“We have a real in­ter­est in her­itage foods and it’s cheaper to grow from seed. Start­ing kids off grow­ing from seed is great. Each bin could be a child’s gar­den.”

At the mo­ment, her bins con­tain beet­root, broc­coli, cau­li­flower, spinach, sil­ver­beet, rhubarb and carrots.

Even Mrs Craig’s grand­mother has taken to mak­ing bin gar­dens.

“She has five bins up­side down with an­other five with plants in them on top. She can’t kneel down in the gar­den any more, but with the bins she doesn’t have to bend over.”

The fam­ily also use the bins for stor­age, keep­ing things like pre­serv­ing jars and chil­dren’s toys in them.

“Once they are cleaned, they are ac­tu­ally re­ally func­tional,” says Mrs Craig.

Auck­land city coun­cil­lor Pe­seta Sam Lotu-Iiga says there have been a num­ber of ideas mooted for the bins, in­clud­ing us­ing them on boats and as com­post con­tain­ers.

“We’re look­ing at run­ning a com­pe­ti­tion. It’s some­thing in­ter­est­ing for peo­ple to put their minds to.”

The coun­cil has also been ap­proached by peo­ple in other parts of the coun­try want­ing to use the sur­plus bins.

“There’s a lot of in­ter­est around them. We’re en­cour­ag­ing peo­ple to keep them and use them for an­other pur­pose.”

He says many peo­ple are tak­ing a green approach to reusing them.

The fate of Mr Lotu-Iiga’s own re­cy­cling bin has yet to be de­cided.

“My wife is quite keen to use it in the gar­den,” he says.

Photo JA­SON OXENHAM

New life: Julie Craig’s old re­cy­cling bins are now used as gar­den planters.

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