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Waste action globally, refilling bottles locally

Waste action globally, refilling bottles locally

Green MP Mike Ward is marking the Third Global Day of Action Against Waste today with a call for wine bottles to be refilled, rather than being recycled or, even worse, thrown away.

Mike visited community waste minimisation groups in Central Otago last week and saw piles of glass accumulating at the region’s tourist towns, including Alexandra’s legendary bottle mountains. While travelling through mile upon mile of vineyards in between, the waste campaigner realised refilling wine bottles is an obvious first step towards a permanent solution to this ever-increasing waste issue.

“After spending millions of dollars on a ‘100% Pure’ branding exercise to promote our scenery and cuisine, it seems absurd that one of our major tourism and viticulture regions has this particular waste problem,” said Mike, the Green Party’s Spokesperson on both Waste-free and Tourism.

“It is up to all of us to make sure that the reality measures up to the world’s expectation of a clean, green land. While it is understandable that winemakers would be reluctant to consider reusing bottles, there is a solution to any problem and refilling is certainly consistent with our image, more environmentally responsible and is also likely to be cheaper. It could also be as selling point in itself, as well as an example to the rest of the world.

“In a rapidly overheating, energy-deficient world, taking a pile of sand on the other side of the planet, applying a heap of energy, shipping the resulting bottle here, filling and draining it once and then smashing it is extraordinarily wasteful, particularly when we have other options.”

Mike acknowledged that refilling is not without problems, but pointed out that New Zealand once refilled wine, beer and milk bottles as a matter of course and is certain that Kiwis have the skills and the ingenuity to do it again.

The Global Day of Action Against Waste today is organised by GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives) to draw international attention to safe and sustainable alternatives to incinerating and landfilling waste. GAIA is a coalition across 75 countries of 470 community-based organisations, research and policy advocacy institutions and other non-profit groups.

More info on Global Day of Action Against Waste - www.no-burn.org/actionkit/gdahome.html

And on GAIA - http://www.no-burn.org/home.html

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