Wanaka Waste­busters

Element - - Environment -

Tired of wait­ing for the Queen­stown Lakes District Coun­cil to set up a re­cy­cling scheme, a group of like-minded Wanaka res­i­dents set up Wanaka Waste­busters (WW) over a decade ago. When it opened, it had one em­ployee and an $8,000 debt. Now it has 35 em­ploy­ees with a pay­roll of $1 mil­lion. The com­pany picks up the re­gion’s re­cy­cling, sorts it by hand, pack­ages it up and sends it off for pro­cess­ing. It also spe­cialises in events re­cy­cling in Wanaka, en­vi­ron­men­tal ed­u­ca­tion pro­grammes and the Lakes District and its sec­ond-hand store is the largest in Wanaka. In a close par­al­lel with what hap­pened on Wai­heke Is­land, how­ever, it looks like it is all about to turn to cus­tard. The coun­cil has awarded the con­tract to an Auck­land com­pany, which al­ready has a au­to­mated pro­cess­ing fa­cil­ity in the area. Gina Dempster from WW says it will take money away from the lo­cal area, mean the loss of nine jobs, and will mean de­creased qual­ity of re­cy­cled ma­te­ri­als, as the new col­lec­tion will be co-min­gled, rather than the cur­rent sep­a­rated re­cy­cling sys­tem. Mean­while WW also run the ge­nius un­packit.org web­site, a pack­ag­ing fo­cused web­site that runs an an­nual awards for the best and worst pack­ag­ing. It is cur­rently tak­ing nom­i­na­tions for the ti­tles. Any­one who puts a nom­i­na­tion in for the Un­packit Awards dur­ing the next month goes in the draw to win one of six Loop bags – stylish Nz-made shop­ping bags made from re­cy­cled ad­ver­tis­ing bill­boards. www.loop­case.co.nz wanakawaste­busters.co.nz un­packit.org

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