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Zero waste aim for Richmond Rd School gala

The weather and turnout were great for the Richmond Road School’s annual Gala held on Saturday, 31st of March 2012. with many people getting into the community spirit to raise money for the school.

This year an additional aim was to reduce waste going to landfill.  This was initially discussed with the organisers and relevant information was provided for stall holders. On the day three waste stations were set up providing for three waste streams i.e. foodwaste and compostables, mixed recyclables and waste for landfill. The bins were supervised as much as possible on the day to prevent contamination of each waste stream.

An unexpected challenge was the use by some stallholders, with great intentions, of bio-degradable cups, because where to put these! The recycle stream would be polluted, composting unsafe (it is often unclear what ‘bio-degradable’  consists off and, if it is safely compostable, high temperatures are needed which can only achieved in commercial facilities) and it contributes to greenhouse gasses in landfills. We weren’t able to solve this issue on the day as no budget was available for a suitable contractor.

However, 100kg of food/compostables went to the worms and a further three to four bins of mixed recyclables were deviated from landfill.

It was a great first attempt at ‘zero waste’ with lots of insights for similar future school events.

Cardboard and paper, for example, could have all gone to the school’s ‘Papers from Homes’ bin but more people power on the day would have been needed for this.

The Paper from Homes scheme allows for optimum recycling of this resource in New Zealand with money earned by the school for each filled bin.

Richmond Road School has a permanent bin on site for this scheme. To support this scheme please bring your newspapers, junk mail, flattened cardboard boxes to the green large bin beside the clothing bin in Richmond Road School’s car park. The school will receive $5- to $10- for each bin filled.

NB Did you know that both Seddon Fields soccer grounds and Western Springs Schools are on old, closed, landfills, with leachates seeps affecting Coxes Creek. Under City Vision/Labour council work commenced in 2007 to address this. (www.cityvision.org.nz-  Pollution of western Beaches).