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Oct—09

Recycling Week 2018 – Taking part + making a visible change

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What is Recycling Week?

Next week sees the sixth annual Recycling Week in New Zealand. This initiative lead by Reclaim aims to help kiwis recover their love for the 3 R's – reducing, reusing, and recycling.

Recycling Week NZ comes after the success of WRAP UK’s Recycle Week initiative, which inspired thousands of people in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland in September. Next month will also see Planet Ark's National Recycling Week in Australia from Monday 12th - Sunday 18th November. Organisations like these are stepping up to make a visible difference, and moving us forward towards a better future.

Who are Reclaim?

Reclaim are New Zealand’s market leader in the commercial collection and processing of recyclable cardboard, waste paper, glass bottles, plastic film and containers, aluminium and steel cans. Separating recyclable products at source, Reclaim use a “5 Point Reclaim Loop” which means they then sort and distribute recyclables for reprocessing. The company, who have processing plants in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, handle 300 tonnes of recyclables every single day.

Why does recycling matter?

Aside from being a sustainable solution for diverting more waste from landfill, recycling also helps quell plastic from entering our oceans and negatively impacting the world’s wildlife. According to a report already two-thirds of New Zealand's rivers are too polluted to swim in and half its lakes are irreversibly damaged. Seabirds are more at risk of dying due to plastic here than anywhere else in the world, new research presented to parliament has shown. One in three turtles that are found sick or dead in the country are caused by the animals eating plastic, Forest & Bird found, with marine mammals such as seals and sea lions also at risk.

The other benefits of recycling include:

  • Conserving natural resources
  • Preventing pollution
  • Reducing greenhouse gasses
  • And so many more
Why does Recycling Week matter?

The annual amount of waste disposed to landfills is expected to almost double within 10 years in Auckland alone. A circular economy and Zero Waste mindset needs to be integral for all New Zealanders, something a national initiative like Recycling Week helps make a reality. We need to collectively consume less and recycle more to reduce our footprint on the world.

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What’s happening in Recycling Week?

Reclaim have named each day of Recycling Week in order to make it more effective. Here we break down what they’re called and why they matter.

Procurement Monday

When purchasing your items, reflect on the materials they’re made of. Can they be easily recycled, or are they destined for landfill?

Reclaim’s advice? Paper, glass and aluminium are the best materials. If plastic is the only option, choose types 1, 2 and 4 as they are the most common and cost effective to recycle and represent 84% of all plastics that are recycled in New Zealand.

Waste-Free Tuesday

Can your waste be recovered, reused or recycled? Recycling or composting can lead to emissions, the removal of oxygen, and the creation of methane and other harmful gases.

Could this be a day that you attempt going Zero Waste like our Auckland Sales + Sustainability expert, Josephine?

Reusable Wednesday

Support businesses that produce goods with minimal and/or recyclable packaging. Use reusable items that eliminate the need for single-use plastic.

Alternatives include: Reusable food containers Reusable zip lock bags Refillable drink bottles Reusable coffee cups If you forget to bring your own container and have to purchase ‘take away’, ask your food provider to supply compostable food serves and cutlery. Once used, they can go into food waste to help make compost.

Rinse + Clean Thursday

It’s important to ensure your recycling has been thoroughly cleaned, otherwise it may end up in landfill. However, try not to waste water by overly rinsing your recyclables – wash them in your washing-up water instead. Squash your recycling before placing in your bin as this will save space for you. If you’re recycling a milk or juice carton, place the plastic inside the carton to ensure that this part also gets recycled and does not get sent to landfill.

Reflection Friday

This day has been designed to help you respond to your experience through the week. What have you learnt? What could you have done better?

Spring Clean Weekend

Use the weekend to clear-out your home or plan for the cleaning of your office. What can be given to a charity or op shop? Can anything be repurposed or re-sold online?

How can my organisation take part?

- Buy products for your office that are either made of recyclable materials or will be simple to recycle

- Consider your plastics – types 1, 2 and 4 are easier to recycle, while others are not worth recycling due to their low value for the market - Understand that you are responsible for the packaging of your waste: choose products without packaging or wrapped in recyclable materials

- Use reusable bags rather than single-use plastic options

- Ensure all paper and cardboard waste is clean - Return redundant products back to the manufacturer

- Improve your recycling bins and/or facilities. With visible recycling stations, you’ll make it easier for employees to be held accountable, to feel responsible, and to take action.

Divert more waste with Method

Get in touch here to find out how the innovative bins can change recycling behaviours in your workplace.