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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