Element - - Solar -

Many towns and ci­ties now have waste re­cy­cling op­er­a­tions, but the Whanganui Re­source Re­cov­ery Cen­tre stood out for the judges.

It’s only been go­ing just over a year, but it is al­ready prov­ing popular with res­i­dents.

“Peo­ple like to re­cy­cle rather than just throw stuff in the rub­bish,” says man­ager Ra­mari Te Ua­mairangi.

“More and more peo­ple are com­ing through, and we are get­ting pos­i­tive feed­back that it’s a good ser­vice – friendly, clean, ac­ces­si­ble and well or­gan­ised.”

The cen­tre is the old town prison be­hind Cooks Gar­dens, which had been empty for over a decade.

The pub­lic can drop off glass, pa­per and plas­tic for free – 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Other rub­bish, oil and green waste will be taken for a fee.

There is room in the fa­cil­ity for an ed­u­ca­tion room and the of­fice of Sus­tain­able Whanganui, which is one of the part­ners in the ven­ture along with the coun­cil and the lo­cal Iwi.

There is a sec­ond­hand shop, a Green Bikes op­er­a­tion and a Re-Use Academy that stores mag­a­zines, books, jars, bro­ken pot­tery, gar­den sup­plies etc, housed in the old cells for crafts­peo­ple, schools and the pub­lic to re­pur­pose.

The judges say that un­der­pin­ning the op­er­a­tion are fan­tas­tic fea­si­bil­ity stud­ies with strong anal­y­sis and clear un­der­stand­ing of the sys­tems and struc­tures needed to build sus­tain­abil­ity.

The com­bi­na­tion of user pays and on-sell­ing waste to larger re­cy­clers means it is fi­nan­cially vi­able and em­ploys a staff of six.

There is also the strong part­ner­ship model, with a cross mar­ket ap­proach in­volv­ing cor­po­rates, pub­lic, Iwi, com­mu­nity and ed­u­ca­tion.

Te Ua­mairangi says for Te Runanga o Tupoho it was an op­por­tu­nity to be in­volved in a pro­gres­sive business which would ben­e­fit not just its own peo­ple but the other res­i­dents of Whanganui.

“We are all about the sus­tain­abil­ity of the en­vi­ron­ment, look­ing after pa­p­at­u­anuku,” she says.

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