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Trash Palace a milestone on NZ’s zero waste path


Trash Palace a milestone along NZ’s zero waste path


The opening of Porirua’s Trash Palace recycling centre today is a major milestone on New Zealand’s path to zero waste, says leading recycling campaigner Warren Snow.

Trash Palace is a purpose-built recycling centre which raises the bar for resource recovery, he said at the centre’s opening today.

Mr Snow was a founder of charitable Zero Waste New Zealand Trust and has helped many communities, cities, businesses and institutions develop zero waste strategies.

``Trash Palace shows that council is serious about moving from a waste creating waste strategy to a elimination waste strategy,’’ he said.

``The whole aim of zero waste is to eliminate waste. This facility is one part of that process. We want to starve landfills so that all materials are integrated back into the economy to create jobs and local economic development.’’

Kaikoura’s resource recovery centre in the South Island had created 18 quality jobs, new technologies and reduced waste by over 50 percent.

Opotiki in the Bay of Plenty had reduced waste in four years by 80 percent.

The Mackenzie district was taking a completely new look at waste while Dunedin was showing a new model for councils.

``New Zealand is the world leader in zero waste and Trash Palace helps us to hold that position,’’ Mr Snow said.

``Tourists will come to this country, money will be made and within three years Porirua could have a large economy based on recovered materials and recycling.

``But to make this happen, council waste contracts have to be written so that they provide incentives for waste reduction instead of waste production.’’

One danger is that big waste companies are offering long term control contracts that will cost millions, lock councils up for 10 years or more, increase waste production, and prove once again that recycling is too expensive.

Mr Snow said recycling was only expensive when it was done half heartedly. Zero Waste was a cost reduction strategy because it made waste reduction the core business.

A recent study by Beck and Co says the US recycling industry is a $250 billion industry, dwarfing the US waste industry at less than $50 billion.

In Europe a study found that waste industry gets 17 percent
return on investment whilst recyclers get 2 percent - no wonder they loved dumps, he said.

``Zero Waste is a social strategy that creates up to 25 times more jobs than wasting, reduces crime, and gives councils huge public endorsement.

``We have to keep telling Government we want action on their waste strategy otherwise it just won’t happen, in spite of the passion and commitment of our minister and her staff.’’

The zero waste movement of New Zealand has called on Government to bring in a modest levy on landfill to fund local waste reduction and set up deposit refund systems on goods.

Trash Palace has been built by Porirua City Council and is being run in association with local community organisation Mana Community Enterprises.

The centre has been architecturally designed using a large percentage of recycled materials and will have a cafe, education centre and gardens.

Ends

Kip Brook, Word of Mouth Media NZ Ph: 03 374 5426


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