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Rubbish culture needs to change, says council

Rubbish culture needs to change, says council
February 21, 2006

North Shore City Council is challenging residents and businesses to take more responsibility for the waste they produce.

A recent conference on sustainability, attended by representatives of the council, and local authorities from all over the country, has sounded a clear warning of the consequences if we continue wasteful ways.

Delegates at the New Zealand Association of Environmental Education conference on sustainability were presented with the findings of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, a new study by 1400 scholars and environmental experts from 95 countries. It warns that human activities are causing environmental damage on a massive scale throughout the world.

The report, commissioned by the United Nations and developed over the past four years, estimates that 60 percent of the ecosystems supporting life on earth are now being polluted or used unsustainably.

North Shore City waste minimisation team leader, Bradley Nolan, says a truly sustainable future requires a fundamental change in the way we produce goods, choose what to buy, and dispose of those products.

"A 'she'll be right' attitude is not good enough - we will all have to make a more conscious effort to do the right thing," he says.

Significant and meaningful change will require unprecedented Government action, he says, but in the meantime, North Shore City Council is committed to providing real alternatives to conventional waste disposal, to ease the burden on the environment, and our reliance on the landfill.

Among these council measures are the Hazmobile collection for household hazardous waste, and the Wastewise programme, which funds community intitiatives to reduce waste, such as the Resene Paintwise paint recovery scheme.

The Hazmobile collection is regional programme which was piloted in North Shore City in 2001 and visits the city four times a year.

The first Hazmobile collection for 2006 takes place on March 25 from 10am - 2pm at the Telstra Clear carpark, Smales Farm Office Park, corner of Taharoto and Northcote Roads.

Last year the Hazmobile collected for safe disposal - or reuse where possible - more than 122 tonnes of material, including paint, oil, batteries and household chemicals.

Community initiatives to reduce waste, in all its forms, are supported by the council's Wastewise fund, which this year will aim to distribute $100,000 to businesses, organisations and individuals throughout the city.

Mr Nolan says the Paintwise scheme, also piloted in North Shore City, demonstrates product stewardship, where the manufacturer has taken responsibility for their product past the point of retail.

"More companies are now thinking this way, which is encouraging. All of us - producers and consumers - must take responsibility for what we produce, buy and throw away."

Consumer preference can play a big part in helping to change manufacturer's methods, and to help shoppers choose more wisely and responsibly, the council is running courses in Smart Shopping.

The next one takes place on Saturday March 18. Those wishing to take part should contact Actionline on 486 8600 and ask to speak to Trish Kirkland-Smith.


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