Indian temple pushes for zero waste model
One of New Zealand’s largest Hindu temples is paving the way to zero waste.
Since October Bharatiya Mandir Indian Temple in Balmoral has been working to send as little waste to landfill as possible.
Religious events, meals and general rubbish have been monitored and separated to make the temple more sustainable.
Volunteer Sudesh Mittal, the figure behind the change, said her dream was to make the temple a model that other temples could use to cut down on their waste.
In October the temple held a waste audit to work out what waste was being generated by the temple.
Since then Mittal and volunteers have separated rubbish before it reached the bin to ensure nothing unnecessary made it to landfill.
On February 25 the Temple held Maha Shivrati, a Hindu festival with more than 2000 participants.
During the event 7000 litres of milk was offered up to Hindu gods and because of the new system about 350 two litre bottles were recycled.
‘‘Previously everything would have gone to the landfill,’’ Mittal said.
Mittal said she hoped through monitoring bins they could start conversations with temple users and educate them about recycling.
For the rest of the year Mittal said the temple would have about 70 dinners with approximately 500 people attending. At each dinner a volunteer would enforce waste separation.
‘‘There’s a chance for a lot of exposure so we can send a good message,’’ Mittal said.
‘‘I want to make it a place where people are inspired to improve.’’
The temple’s also exploring other avenues to become more sustainable.
It set up a worm farm, ran composting workshops, and was looking into using the temple’s grounds to create edible gardens.
Temple president Hemant Prashar said the temple was well on its way to avoiding landfills.
‘‘We want to become good at what we do and then we plan on sharing that knowledge,’’ Prashar said.
Bharatiya Mandir Temple was built in 1993 and is one of 12 Hindu Temples in Auckland.
Sudesh Mittal wants to make the temple a place where people are inspired to improve.