Waste exchange scheme

Gerry O'Neill
Gerry O'Neill
One man's rubbish being another man's treasure is the thinking behind a new scheme funded by the Waitaki District Council to the sum of almost $75,000 over two years.

The council and Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust wants businesses to look at their rubbish and offer it for others to use.

This week, the council decided to put $39,500 this year and $35,000 next year into educating businesses on a resource exchange programme.

The programme will initially be aimed at the biggest business producers of waste to evaluate what they dump and whether it can be offered for exchange to other businesses and the public.

One example given by trust representative Maxine Woodhouse was coffee grinds from coffee houses.

Already, grinds were being collected and offered, through the resource recovery shop, for people to spread on gardens to deter pests.

She said people were now waiting for supplies of coffee grinds to arrive to make use of them.

Business waste makes up about half of what goes into the Oamaru and Palmerston landfills.

With these filling rapidly, the council wants to reduce waste to extend their life.

Solid waste officer Gerry O'Neill said waste material and packaging from businesses could be put to better use than just filling landfills.

The resource exchange would be an efficient way of managing high volumes of waste.

For example, businesses buying new packaging materials and containers could source these from others and reuse them.

To introduce the resource exchange, the first step would be to visit the largest business producers of waste and investigate what they had available.

The focus would initially be on the largest waste producers, but gradually work through about 200 businesses in central Oamaru and others throughout the district.

Materials would be listed in a newsletter and on a website, with businesses or the public contacting those who had materials they wanted to reuse.

The programme would include a "Resource Wise" newsletter, individual help for businesses to reduce, reuse and recycle waste, a website, follow-up phone calls, revisiting businesses to assess the situation and a survey form to monitor the exchange's success.

Records would be kept so the council and trust knew how much waste was being diverted from the landfill and to see if changes needed to be made to improve the programme.

david.bruce@odt.co.nz

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