Tuesday 30 August, 2022
Tetra Pak or liquid paper board can now be recycled in Tairāwhiti.
The Tetra Pak and other liquid paper board packaging that’s used for some milks, vegetable stock, yoghurts and juices can be taken (cut flat, clean and dry) to the Tairāwhiti Environment Centre on Palmerston Road.
From there it’ll get transported to Hamilton where saveBOARD NZ will turn it into much-needed building materials such as internal wall linings and ceiling panels.
SaveBOARD NZ states every offcut of their product will also be re-made back into more building materials.
Council waste minimisation lead Charlotte Phelps says she’ll save her Tetra Pak cartons up at home, drop them off on her way to get groceries every week.
“Up until now, all Tetra Paks within Tairāwhiti have had to go to landfill - this is a huge step forward for diverting waste from landfill while also creating building supplies such as saveBOARD during a time with a huge plaster board shortage. It’s a win-win.”
Whangara School student Wamania Callaghan-Wilson was the first Tairāwhiti person to recycle Tetra Pak at the environment centre last week.
She and her classmates came to Gisborne to visit the environment centre and ask questions of Charlotte and Council solid waste manager Phil Nickerson.
The students knew a lot about waste streams already. Whanagara School, about a 20-minute drive north from Gisborne, have their own worm farm, compost and recently did waste audits – separating the waste into four separate categories.
TEC manager Rena Kohere says the best thing about their space is that everyone learns from each other.
“We’re all really connected. This Tetra Pak recycling has been a long time coming.
“We really wanted to be able to offer this new programme to Tairāwhiti.”
Charlotte remembers exactly when she made her commitment to waste minimisation. It was 3 years ago on the banks of the Fox River, on the west coast of the South Island.
An old disused landfill had spilt its contents into the river after a March storm in 2019.
Charlotte was one of almost 1000 volunteers who helped collect around 14,000 bags of rubbish across 21 kilometres of river and 64 kilometres of coastline beside Fox Glacier.
“I was finding prescription medicine bottles and could still read the names of who they were prescribed to from forty years ago.” The amount of rubbish, mostly plastic, and seeing how long it hung around on earth changed how she lived.
“It’s all about finding alternatives and the best control we all have is when we buy things.”
Charlotte buys second-hand clothes and fruit and vegetables not wrapped in plastic.
“I reduce food waste by shopping in my pantry first before writing a weekly grocery list.”
She’s also hopeful. “Lots has changed. 15-years ago you would have had a plastic bag when you went grocery shopping. “Every day things are changing to minimise waste.”
After the landfill in Tairāwhiti closed in 1988, waste was transported up to Waikato where it goes into a landfill.
Plans are also in their early stages to introduce a wheelie bin system to Gisborne that would separate food, compostable and green waste. There is also a $2.9m project to support this initiative.
For more information on ways to recycle items
Visit saveBOARD website here.
Above: Whangara School student Wamania Callaghan-Wilson was the first Tairāwhiti person to recycle Tetra Pak at the environment centre last week.
Above: Back row (l-r) Matua Roger White, Materoa Leatham-Tai Tin, Tina May Downs-Campbell, Waimania Callaghan-Wilson, Keanu Kahaki, Pine Patuwai-Te Kani, Ryan Love, Korbyn Whanarere-Bailey, Arihia Tuhaka-Haapu, Council waste minimisation lead Charlotte Phelps, TEC hub support Stephanie Temple and Council solid waste manager Phil Nickerson.
Front row (l-r) Kōkā Lisa Christensen, Tawera Ehau, Bailey Jane Maaka, Sky Hohipa-Wehi, Mahinarangi Cook.