Summit takes stock of sustainability moves

Kate Mitchell. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Kate Mitchell. PHOTO: ODT FILES
Wanaka's single-use cup-free initiative is proving hard for out-of-towners to get a handle on.

That was the experience of Edgewater Resort digital and sustainability co-ordinator Kate Mitchell, who said guests often struggled with not being able to buy a takeaway coffee in Wanaka.

At a 2020 Reset Summit session she said the resort had begun emailing guests about the waste-reduction initiative ahead of their arrival date.

"We say we are so excited you are coming but here are a few things you are going to want to know before you get here," Ms Mitchell said.

About 20 people attended the workshop, including representatives from University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic student residences, and Wanaka motels, hotels and short-term rentals.

The session was run by Wanaka Wastebusters. Ms Mitchell had been a participant in the workshop last year and was invited back to talk about sustainability initiatives since introduced.

"In our gift shop we used to have a lot of really cute Kiwi items, made in China ... but we recognised that was not the correct market any more.

"We looked closely around and found there were a lot of really great artists and crafts people within Central Otago that could be showcased, so when we have guests from other areas come in we get to show them something uniquely Wanaka they can take back or send to friends," she said.

"The local artisans hand-deliver their goods so there is no shipping and there is not a lot of packaging, both of which has a significant impact on waste and our carbon footprint."

Wanaka Wastebusters will celebrate its 20th year of operation in November.

Communications manager Gina Dempster said that when it opened, it was told it was "too hippie-ish" and that it would not last 12 months.

Twenty years on, recycling was mainstream and more than 700 Wanaka businesses sent their recycling waste to Wanaka Wastebusters, she said.


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