Waste efforts pay off

Coronet Peak staff (from left) Paul Speedy, Ebba Anderson, Petter Karlssan, Miles Bridgman (in...
Coronet Peak staff (from left) Paul Speedy, Ebba Anderson, Petter Karlssan, Miles Bridgman (in bin), Lydia Roberts, Vicki Halligan and Barry Bryne. The ski area has significantly improved its recycling efforts this season after staff feedback. Photo supplied.
A waste management initiative at Coronet Peak, prompted by staff feedback, has seen a significant increase in recycling at the ski area.

Feedback from a staff survey stated Coronet Peak "wasn't recycling enough", which prompted a full review and audit of the ski area's waste procedures and an overhaul of practices.

Operations manager Paul Speedy said the comments led the business to Smart Environmental and Northern Southland Transport to investigate possible improvements.

"We took a good, hard look at waste efficiencies within the business and it wasn't long before I realised the staff were absolutely right: we simply could be doing so much more," he said.

"The audit identified areas where we could make significant improvement in the way we handle and manage our waste, and the team has supported the new initiatives ever since.

"This year we got staff buy-in, so the challenge for next year is to educate guests and get them on board if we're going to reach our new landfill-reduction targets."

Mr Speedy set up the sustainable action group (SAG), involving representatives from each department on the mountain.

While there was "a lot of work that could be done", staff members had focused on improving how they recycled and wanted to get that element right before moving on to the "next task", Mr Speedy said.

The team had also identified areas for improvement in waste handling.

A new system of transporting rubbish had been introduced, removing the need for a rubbish truck to make multiple trips per day to and from Coronet Peak and the Remarkables.

"In the past we had delivery trucks coming up fully loaded with supplies every day but going down empty.

"Now, we work with Northern Southland Transport and 'back load' the delivery trucks with rubbish.

"Trucks come up with clean, empty bins with deliveries and return with full bins, which make perfect sense."

Mr Speedy said it was critical to the business and to those involved that the new waste management initiatives had positive flow-on effects for the business and it wasn't just a case of "doing it for the sake of it".

"We had to make sure it was a sound business decision, that there would be a return on investment for our company, and show the NZSki board that this investment was worthwhile.

"I'm delighted to say that at Coronet Peak we've reduced operating costs of waste disposal by just over 50%, a significant business saving."

Mr Speedy said he had also encouraged other suppliers to "get on board" with the initiatives and thanked Coca-Cola Amatil and Love NZ for their financial contribution to the capital improvements required for the recycling drive.

"Significant contributions" from both companies had led to the installation of new bin lids and signage at outlets around the mountain.

Coronet Peak was also trialling disposing organic food and waste to a worm farm in Cromwell, sending 400kg-500kg a week on a back-loaded truck, rather than to landfill.

The next SAG module would focus on an overall reduction of waste to landfill, already significantly reduced from 2% in 2011 to 37% in 2012.

"Next year, we're aiming to introduce a third bin for organic waste which will make it more efficient for us to deliver to the worm farm.

"Our napkins, burger boxes and any other paper-based products will be able to go in these bins, too.

"In 2013, our goal is to recycle 70% of our waste and contribute only 30% to landfill.

"Our custodians are the enforcers and if they continue to keep everyone on track, I'm confident we'll reach that target," Mr Speedy said.


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