Bottom of the South Resource Recovery Study Tour 7th - 9th November

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Bottom of the South Resource Recovery Study Tour 7th - 9th November

On Monday 7th November a bunch of 17 folk from around New Zealand gathered at the Queenstown Airport for Envision’s Bottom of the South Study Tour. The tour involved visiting a range of resource recovery facilities from Queenstown to Dunedin with an emphasis on community-led initiatives.

After a visit to Smart Environmental’s Materials Recovery Facility in Queenstown it was over the Crown Range and into a warm greeting from the Wanaka Wastebusters crew. Not only did they provide an in-depth tour of their facility but they also hosted a lake-side BBQ with incredible kai and refreshments. The next morning saw the group at Alexandra Wastebusters which has recovered extremely well from a very damaging fire and a quick stop at Moeraki Bolders before heading to the Waitaki Resource Recovery Park in Oamaru and another great tour from the crew there. The evening was spent watching the little blue penguins come ashore and discussions about all that had been seen. The final day was the busiest with visits to the Hampden Community Recycling Centre, Dunedin’s Green Island Landfill and finally a visit to the social venture, Foodshare (www.foodshare.org.nz).

Here’s some feedback from tour participants about what they found useful about the experience:

The networking, seeing how others have set up their sites, seeing how each of us add value in different ways, the possibilities we may not have thought of, machinery used in the processes, but most of all the people. Those we knew and had the opportunity to get to know better, those we met as part of the tour and the openness and generosity of our hosts at each site, sharing their experience and stories so openly to help others with their journey. We come away from it feeling inspired, reinvigorated and with new friends and contacts across the whole country. The value gained far exceeded the time and money spent. – Sue Wallis, Waiuku Zero Waste

The tour was superbly organised and jam-packed with a range of approaches to resource recovery and management profiled, from a volunteer operated reuse shop that serves a community of 500 people, to a landfill servicing a major city, with the whole range in between. While the programme was worthwhile for both those new to the game, and experts, the real value came from spending three days exploring the issues and ideas with my fellow tourists, the kind of networking that has the potential to develop into some exciting new projects and embedding best practice methodologies into existing ones. – Dorte Wray, CRN

Click here to read the Otago Daily Times article on the tour

 

 

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The InCENTive to Recycle: The case for a container deposit system in NZ

The InCENTive to Recycle: The case for a container deposit system in NZ

Public funds fail to reduce packaging waste

Click here to download bottle deposit FAQs and answers

Update: In January 2016 The Packaging Forum released their Cost Benefit Analysis of a CDS for New Zealand - click here to read our response to that report

In our latest report, The InCENTive to Recycle, Envision recommends bringing back bottle refunds (cash for containers) to lift recycling rates in New Zealand.

Millions of dollars worth of government grants, to boost beverage container recycling have made little impact on New Zealand’s poor recycling rates with Kiwis wasting (not recycle) enough beverage containers to fill 700 Boeing 747 Jumbo Jets each year.

Funded by a number of councils and businesses, the report calls for the reintroduction of a mandatory container deposit scheme (CDS) – where empty bottles can be returned to recycling centres or shops for a small refund.

“You won’t see bottles lying in the gutter, tossed over banks or drifting out to the sea when they are worth 10 cents” said the report’s lead author Warren Snow. “There’s nothing like a financial incentive to get people to recycle.”

The report estimates bringing back a “bottle refund” or “Container Deposit Scheme” would only cost the beverage industry half a cent (0.5 cents) per container, but would increase beverage container recycling every year by 45,000 tonnes. The move would create thousands of jobs and divert 180,000 cubic metres of waste from landfill - saving New Zealanders between $26 and $40 million dollars per year in waste disposal costs.

But, despite the scheme enjoying success in other developed countries, the report suggests corporate packaging and beverage industry groups are fighting hard to stop container deposits being introduced here.
It says since 2008, the New Zealand Government has given out nearly $7 million in taxpayer funded grants for initiatives to recycle beverage containers, but that most of that money has ended up in the hands of groups representing corporate packaging and beverage industries with a vested interest to retain the status quo.

In spite of this taxpayer support, New Zealand’s beverage recycling rates are low compared to progressive countries like Canada, South Australia and countries in Europe – which have mandatory deposits on drink bottles.

In these places recycling rates of 85% to 98% rates are routinely being achieved compared to New Zealand’s significantly lower estimated rates of between 25% and 40%. These countries also enjoy less litter, new recycling jobs and reduced costs for local governments.

Envision New Zealand developed a model for a Nation-wide Bottle Deposit Scheme and found it would lift recycling rates to 85%, create up to 2,400 new jobs and enable businesses to set up 200 or more drop off points where people can claim their refund.

Many of the drop-off points would be start-up businesses spread right across the country as seen in South Australia, British Columbia and all through Europe.

According to Envision, the wasted containers are currently heading to landfill and each year take up as much space as an eight-story building.

The report concludes New Zealand should no longer continue with voluntary measures after 20 years of poor outcomes and that it’s time to introduce a mandatory container deposit system.

“A lot of people fondly remember when they could earn pocket money by collecting bottles to take back for the refund”, said Marty Hoffart, Chair of the Community Recycling Network.  Our network of 60 social enterprises wants to see bottle deposits brought back as do a lot of Local Authorities”.

The key recommendations of the report are that:

  • Government declare beverage containers a priority product under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 with a national recovery target of 85%.
  • To achieve the target, Government would require the establishment of a national Container Deposit Scheme (CDS) requiring producers to put a minimum refundable deposit on beverage containers to ensure they are recycled.

The report also calls for local government, recyclers, environmental organisations and responsible beverage companies to work together to make the case to Government to introduce a Container Deposit System for New Zealand starting in 2017.

Click image to download SUMMARY report (903kb)

Click image to download SUMMARY report (903kb)

Click image to download FULL report (2.9mb)

Click image to download FULL report (2.9mb)

 
The CRN Bottle Depot in action at the 2015 CRN National Hui. This child made over $3 from redeeming bottles!

The CRN Bottle Depot in action at the 2015 CRN National Hui. This child made over $3 from redeeming bottles!

The CRN Bottle Depot in action again, this time at the 2015 Waste MINZ Conference

The CRN Bottle Depot in action again, this time at the 2015 Waste MINZ Conference

“So you think you can’t afford Auckland?” People Led Housing Breakfast Forum

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“So you think you can’t afford Auckland?” People Led Housing Breakfast Forum

Join us for breakfast and listen to Kate and Jacob Otter-Lowe talk about their journey from realising that two salaries don’t pay for a house in Auckland to the creation of Auckland Cohousing (ACG), a group working towards affordable, sustainable and people friendly housing.

Covered in presentation:

  • People led housing – what is it?
  • Why it will thrive in Auckland.
  • What’s next
  • How you can be involved.

After the presentation people can choose to stay on for a world café forum, where there will be chance to get your questions answered by some of the people leading this exciting new initiative.

Time: 7.30am for breakfast, coffee and networking

          8am Presentation and Q&A

          9-11am World Café Forum

Date: Thursday 22nd of September

Venue: Studio One Toi Tū, 1 Ponsonby Road, Grey Lynn

Breakfast: coffee sponsored by Mojo. Purchase a yummy breakfast made by Claire Inwood catering for $7.

To register: event is free but you must register here to attend as places are limited.

Thanks to Mojo coffee who are sponsoring this event alongside Envision!

 

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Letter to 2016’s Auckland Mayoral candidates

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Letter to 2016’s Auckland Mayoral candidates

On the 6th July 2016 approximately 80 - 100 individuals from organisations interested in the development of community-led resource recovery and waste minimisation operations in Auckland met at AUT.

At that meeting Warren Snow drafted a letter to Auckland's Mayoral Candidates asking them for their support and commitment to the Zero Waste vision to make Auckland a world leader at growing a local zero waste economy and substantially reducing the current waste of materials, resources and energy.

Click here to download a copy of the letter

There are 15 mayoral candidates. Letters were either emailed or sent via Facebook to the following candidates: Penny Bright, Vic Crone, Phil Goff, David Hay, Alezix Heneti, John Palino, Chlöe Swarbrick & Mark Thomas

We were unable to find contact details for these candidates: Mario Alupis, Aileen Austin, Patrick Brown, Tricia Cheel, Adam Holland, Stan Martin, Bin Thanh Nguyen, Phil O'Connel, Tyrone Raumati, Wayne Young

As they come in we will post each candidate's response here so keep checking in.

Please note that Phil Goff and Vic Crone responded verbally at a Mayoral debate hosted on the North Shore by ANCAD on 8th September where Envision posed the question - "Council has a vision for Zero Waste by 2040 and the current WMMP promotes community-led initiatives as a key way of achieving that goal. Do you support this vision and if so will you champion innovative community-led approaches to achieving it?". Their answers are paraphrased below and an audio recording is available here

Vic Crone: Yes, absolutely I support it and let me talk to you about a community initiative that I really respect and admire and this is happening across Auckland. In Waimahia in South Auckland there is a NZ Housing Foundation initiative there that is providing affordable homes. That is a model that I love and when I talk about powering up community and social initiatives that is an example of it. That community has created a residents group and that group are actively pursuing these goals on their own without the need for Council to be in there telling them what to do or how to do it. So they have composting, recycling, they're planting lemon trees, nut trees, things like that for the community to enjoy...I believe that the community want to pursue that goal and Council should be here to support you and not stand in your way. Its probably quite clear by now that I don't believe in the old world model of the government dictating to you how you need to do everything. The government plays a macro role in this but there are some amazing initiatives in this space and Council's role is to get out of the way! There are some macro measures that Council needs to put in place but our ability to execute that will be 10x slower than anything (the community sector) can put in place.

Phil Goff: Yes I support the vision but it is one thing to have a vision and another to have the methods in place to achieve that vision...I have talked to Sir Robert Fenwick about this and he said 'frankly you've set the goal but you haven't set the pathway to achieving that goal'. He (Fenwick) feels we need to do a whole lot more about organics not going into landfill and I agree with that. There is another whole stream of waste we need to look at as well and it is called plastics. 90% of our seabirds have plastic in their intestines...In the UK they've put a 5p charge on plastic bags and they've reduced the usage of plastic bags by 85%...I think something like that if you really want to reduce the waste stream would be a very practical way of actually going about it.

David Hay: My vision for Auckland is: Cool Auckland - Carbon Zero by 2060, or sooner. You can regard that slogan as a "headline" for a broader range of matters including energy resilience and sustainability including, of course, waste minimisation. These are already encompassed in the council's Low Carbon Auckland Action Plan. I'm not intending to reinvent that plan, but to give it greater emphasis: making sustainability Auckland's "business as usual" way of doing things. You can see more about this on my website - click on the "sustainably cool" button.

John Palino: I think it is fantastic. When I put my plan together for the growth of Auckland I had looked at something much further than what council has and also any of the other candidates. My plan to build multiple city centres and a satellite city is about getting people to live, work and play in the same area. Reducing the need for not only personal transportation but even public transportation. If we build in this way we will create room for 300,000 people walking to work or having a very short trip on public transportation that would be of the utmost modern technology. The plan today of intensifying suburbs doesn't create the jobs in those neighbourhoods and only forces people to use their cars. I have attached my book for you and also a link to my new short movie on building Auckland and connecting us by a major transport spine. You can watch the movie on Facebook, you may need to stroll down a bit.

 

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Successful kaitaia public meeting on Renewable Energy

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Successful kaitaia public meeting on Renewable Energy

It was standing room only at a recent Kaitaia public meeting on complementary energy systems, chaired by Envision Associate, Warren Snow.  

Hosted by Transition Town Kaitaia and the Far North Environment Centre, a panel of local Far North renewable energy manufacturers and retailers offered their insights into power generation opportunities - solar, water, and grid-interactive systems.

Warren welcomed the 100 plus attendees and pointed out that the numbers show Kaitaia can be a leader in energy as it was over 25 years ago with its pioneering recycling schemes.
 
The panel led a dynamic discussion on some of the everyday challenges of complementary energy systems, and future trends. Speakers and members of the audience shared their frustrations about the barriers faced by ordinary people wishing to make the energy switch.  It was clear that there is an urgent need for energy policy reform at the local and central Government, levels.
 
The over 100 attendees were encouraged to hear that renewables were predicted to be the predominant energy supply within 20-30 years.  Overall there was a strong call for families and whole communities to be more actively supported to switch to either a hybrid grid-tied system or fully independent renewable energy systems as soon as possible.  A number of attendees discussed creating an energy consumer group to find ways togain more local control and self sufficiency, including ways to finance families wishing to switch to renewables.
 
The media loves to give Kaitaia a bad rap, because of housing and poverty related issues, but how many places are there, where over 100 people show up on a Friday evening to discuss an important issue for the future?  It shows that Kaitaia and the Far North is a community with a big heart for change, said Warren.
 
(For more information contact: Catherine Murupaenga-Ikenn, c/o email: transitiontownkaitaia@gmail.com).

 

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Award winners!

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Award winners!

Resource Rescue is a new social enterprise managed by Envision on behalf of the Entrust Foundation. It is all about saving appliances from landfill and workers from unemployment and has emerged from Auckland Council's new inorganic collection service.

After just three months of full operation we are wrapt that Resource Rescue is the inaugural winner of the 2016 Rotary Newmarket Kick-start Award run in conjunction with the Ākina Foundation.

The prize is a much needed $10,000 capital injection into the business to allow Resource Rescue to expand its operation. We intend to do this by buying equipment to improve our workspace and to set up a website. These changes will allow us to take on volunteers, and engage more effectively in direct sales, thereby avoiding the success fees we occur through our online auctions. But perhaps just as valuable as the cash prize are the relationships we can now build with Rotary Newmarket members. We appreciated the many kind offers of assistance and advice we received on the night of the awards has already proven useful.

On behalf of the Entrust Foundation board of trustees, our thanks go to Rotary Newmarket and the Ākina Foundation for launching the Rotary Newmarket Kick-start Award. We're also grateful to the Maungakiekie-Tamaki Local Board for providing seed funding with the goal of increasing employment in their area, Waste Management for providing incubation space on their site in Penrose, and the Community Recycling Network for providing general support and access to materials.

Resource Rescue's successful video application for the 2016 Rotary Newmarket Kick-start Award run in conjunction with Ākina Foundation

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Newsworthy Trash

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Newsworthy Trash

There have been two excellent articles published recently, and Matthew from Envision has managed to squeeze himself into both!

The first was an article on New Zealand's recycling industry in the July edition of NZ Geographic. While the article didn't mention the amazing job community recyclers do in New Zealand, while also creating enormous social benefits for their communities, it does provide an excellent introduction to the industry. You can read the article here.

The second was in Element magazine which went out with the NZ Herald on Monday 28th September. It has a number of different people giving their perspectives on the waste industry in New Zealand and things that could improve the situation. You can read those articles here.

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Study Tour to Xtreme Zero Waste

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Study Tour to Xtreme Zero Waste

An acre of performance is worth a whole world of promise and a couple of weeks ago Xtreme Zero Waste in Raglan showed a group of early-rising Aucklanders 12 acres of performance!

Jumping on a community-owned bus, (thanks to the Mangere East Community Centre), representatives from a variety of community organisations and Council business units from South Auckland and Tamaki, headed to Raglan for a one-day tour of Xtreme Zero Waste.

Raglan flies the gold standard on how to run a community recycling centre. Born 14 years ago out of frustration at how the existing transfer station was managed, (as well as a way of tackling the larger issue of environmental degradation of the local waterways due to leach-ate from the dump), a group of like-minded individuals formed Raglan Zero Waste. The story of Raglan’s formation was shared by key staff including Rick Thorpe, Jacqui Forbes and Campbell.

One of the first things I noticed was the aesthetics. Xtreme Zero Waste have managed a feat many might think impossible - developing a waste centre which is a pleasant place to be in. Frequent collections and clever placement of landfill-destined waste, ensured almost no perceptible rubbish odours and few flocking seagulls. Creative signage (in both English and Te Reo Maori) from used resources added an artistic flavour to the centre. The good vibrations of the place was palpable - Campbell from the woodyard was clearly (and deservedly) proud of his work in maximising community reuse of staples such as timber. The reincarnation of used goods in his upcycling workshop was amazing.

Jacqui talked us through the history of Xtreme Zero Waste from it’s early days to its current management of all of Raglan’s waste, from the kerbside pickup and drop-off centres to its incredible landfill diversion rate of 75%. Finally

Rick Thorpe showed us the drop-off areas and reuse shop (Kaahu’s Nest) with their attractive displays to maximise purchase and thus reuse. His consideration of the site as the perfect place to stay in an emergency (they have 2-50 of everything), chickens, sea views and large spaces in which to party) added a value to the place that I for one hadn’t previously considered. In cases of house fires, or other such emergencies, Xtreme Zero Waste provide bedding and clothes almost immediately to those in need, thereby circumventing lengthy waits for insurance payouts. They clearly think beyond waste and see themselves as a resource for the whole community.

Following the tour was a brief visit to Raglan’s main street where local shops purveying goods supplied by Xtreme Zero Waste could be viewed.

Although Xtreme Zero Waste showed us acres of top-class performance it was also an inspiring trip, and hopefully trip attendees will take home thoughts and ideas (as well as a few goods from the Reuse Shop) on how to establish such an enterprise in their own backyards.

- Sarah, Envision NZ

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Successful Concrete recycling seminar

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Successful Concrete recycling seminar

Envision has been proud to support John La Roche from Engineers for Social Responsibility (ESR) with his work to divert construction and demolition material from landfill. 

As a result of this work, ESR, IPENZ Auckland Branch and the Sustainability Society joint-sponsored a workshop last week in Auckland to look specifically at options for recycling concrete.

On Envision's recent study tour to South Australia participants visited two businesses involved in recycling concrete that make a range of aggregates for the building and roading industries. For more information go to: http://www.sustainableaggregates.com.au/index.php

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Enterprising Auckland: A social enterprise approach to local economic development

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Enterprising Auckland: A social enterprise approach to local economic development

Today Warren and I were proud to attend the launch of the latest Envision report - Enterprising Auckland: A social enterprise approach to local economic development. The report aims to support the work of Auckland's Local Boards and their efforts to stimulate social enterprise within their communities through providing another approach to add to their tool bags. 

Our thanks go to Billy Matheson from Auckland Council for commissioning the report and endless patience as we thrashed out various ideas and proceeded down some dead ends. We are also grateful to Bevin Fitzsimons from Breakthrough Strategies and Jamie Newth from Soul Capital for their support and input.

You can view or download the full report here, but in the meantime here's the Executive Summary to wet your appetite...

The potential for social enterprise to address some of New Zealand’s pressing social issues has long been understood, and there are an increasing number of fledgling social enterprises enthusiastic about contributing to this mission. However there also appears to be a ‘missing middle’ - the gap in funding and support that would allow the field to grow sufficiently to make significant inroads into solving some of the social problems we face nationally and locally. Additionally there seems to be no clear plan for getting around this gap.

The Community and Cultural Strategy Unit of Auckland Council commissioned this discussion document to address the missing middle and provide a model for Local Boards to foster social enterprise in their communities. The model proposed in this document is intended to compliment, and add to, the tools Local Boards already have available for advancing social enterprise in their communities rather than replace or superceed those methods.

The aim of the model is to stimulate innovative local solutions that will help build strong resilient local economies. It involves Auckland’s Local Boards taking a leadership role in identifying opportunities for social enterprise within their community. These may include providing goods and services to Council through social enterprises tendering for Council contracts, or maximising the social value of Council assets such as land and buildings through their use by social businesses.

The model proposed in this document is based on the following six steps:

1.     Identification of clear commercial opportunities that support the Local Board’s Plan

2.     Identification of an organisation, or collaboration of organisations, that could successfully exploit the opportunity while maximising social benefit

3.     Encouraging the creation of a purpose-built social enterprise that can realise that opportunity on behalf of the local community

4.     Supporting the resulting entity with seed, match or innovation funding

5.     Advocating for Council’s various business units to use a social procurement approach, opening the door for social enterprises to access Council contracts (procuring goods and services) and Council assets (land or buildings)

6.     Maintaining a watching brief and providing governance support as appropriate

The model involves actively brokering relationships, advocating for opportunities, and encouraging a competitive tender process that incorporates social or community outcomes. This brokering function can be undertaken by Local Boards themselves, by a skilled volunteer, or carried out by a professional agency.

The model was partly inspired by social enterprises that have established businesses in the waste sector in New Zealand. These groups have successfully set up a network of community recycling centres utilising a social enterprise model to divert waste, generate employment, and contribute to local economic development.

Learnings and experiences from this sector provided an initial framework for thinking about how to translate this success into other areas.

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An evening with Zero Waste Japan

Many of NZ's towns and cities have committed to achieving Zero Waste and for Auckland the goal is Zero Waste by 2040. Maintaining hope in the face of such an audacious goal can be tricky! So, when Akira from Zero Waste Japan visited Envision last week and told us what is happening in her home of Kamikatsu we thought it'd be great to give others the chance to be inspired as we had. 

A few days later about 45 folk from the private, public and community sectors gathered in Milford to hear from Akira and her three colleagues. Kamikatsu is a small town in the Tokushima Prefecture aiming for Zero Waste by 2040 and they are well on their way. 

Without a kerbside collection of any kind residents are motivated to compost at home. They then take the remaining material to a drop off depot where they are required to separate it into 34 categories! What little is left over is then considered residual waste and incinerated. It is this portion that Akira and her team will be concentrating on eliminating over the next five years. 

As if running the recycling centre and public education programmes weren't enough they also operate a beautiful Zero Waste Cafe in Kamikatsu. This provides an opportunity to showcase local food and crafts but also to model how a business can run without generating waste.

Click here for a 2min video on Kamikatsu, and to be sure you are aware of any other Envision Events coming up please drop us an email to be added to our mailing list.

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