Bi­ol­o­gist se­ri­ous re­cy­cler and re-user

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JOE DAW­SON

For Eva Her­nan­dez min­imis­ing the amount of waste she pro­duces be­gins be­fore she even hits the shops.

The Mt Eden bi­ol­o­gist says re­duc­ing house­hold waste is easy and there is noth­ing to fear in new Auck­land Coun­cil rules.

From Fri­day new pro­vi­sions that will af­fect the way house­holds deal with their rub­bish come into ef­fect as part of the coun­cil’s solid waste by­law.

The new rules set max­i­mum lim­its for the amount of re­cy­clable ma­te­rial al­lowed in rub­bish bins and bags, pro­vide a re­gional ap­proach to col­lec­tions in­clud­ing stan­dard col­lec­tion times and max­i­mum weights and vol­umes of rub­bish bins and bags, and ex­tend re­stric­tions on green waste in house­hold rub­bish.

Rub­bish bins and bags should now con­tain no more than 5 per cent re­cy­clable ma­te­rial, down from the cur­rent av­er­age rate of 15 per cent.

‘‘The new pro­vi­sions will em­power the coun­cil to move for­ward with our ob­jec­tives to re­duce waste to land­fill, and to pur­sue our as­pi­ra­tion for a Zero Waste re­gion,’’ solid waste man­ager Ian Stupple says.

The by­law will re­quire Auck­lan­ders to take greater re­spon­si­bil­ity for sort­ing their rub­bish.

Ms Fer­nan­dez is al­ready well on the way to do­ing what the coun­cil is ask­ing.

The Span­ish-born ma­rine bi­ol­o­gist uses a ‘‘bokashi’’ sys­tem to turn or­ganic waste into fer­tiliser and is a se­ri­ous re­cy­cler and reuser. Any plas­tic bag that finds its way into her home will have mul- tiple uses.

Most of what she does to min­imise the stuff she sends to the land­fill are small and sim­ple things.

‘‘I re­cy­cle as much as I can and what I usu­ally do is not buy things that I can’t re­cy­cle,’’ she says.

‘‘I also buy things like legumes in bulk so I have maybe only one plas­tic bag at the end of six months.

‘‘So I re­duce my con­sump­tion and it’s cheaper at the end.’’

She says she is keen to spread the word about the need for peo­ple tak­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity for their own rub­bish.

‘‘Some peo­ple don’t get it, but it will be­come more ex­pen­sive to find a new land­fill than just to re­cy­cle and com­post at home.’’

The coun­cil won’t be en­forc­ing the law as such but plans to make ed­u­ca­tion and en­gage­ment the pri­or­ity. The by­law does al­lows for en­force­ment by way of prose­cu­tion but this won’t be in­voked un­til it is deemed the only op­tion.

Photo: JOE DAW­SON

No waste: Eva Fer­nan­dez with her ‘bokashi’ com­post­ing bin.

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