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NZ falling behind in zero waste

January 11, 2004

NZ falling behind in zero waste but higher goals planned for international conference in April

New Zealand has slipped back as a world leader in zero waste and needs to make a more serious effort, a waste expert said today.

An international conference in Kaikoura in April will help New Zealand set fresh goals in the battle against waste, Jo Knight, chief executive of Zero Waste New Zealand said today.

``New Zealand has done very well in some places, Kaikoura being one of them. We were one of the first countries to set off in the zero waste direction, but recently other places have started to eclipse us, such Belgium and parts of Australia.’’

Ms Knight will be one of the guest speakers at the international zero waste conference in Kaikoura on April 6 to 8.

``We are great as a nation at innovation and nowhere can this be seen best than at Kaikoura. But I feel New Zealand’s clean green image is becoming tarnished.’’ Ms Knight said New Zealand was now more prepared to take on zero waste philosophy.

``We get some criticism for the word zero but without it some councils and community groups would never have diverted 70 to 80 percent from landfill. ``Our aim at the conference is to encourage a declaration encouraging the South Island to band together to be the first zero waste island in the world.’’

The conference will also host the first national zero waste awards.

Zero waste policies helped Kaikoura become the first town in the world to gain full Green Globe status last October.

Green Globe is the world’s only global tourism certification and to earn certification Kaikoura had to adopt zero waste policies and reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

The town also had to measure its environmental performance against indicators of energy, water use, solid waste production, water quality, resource conservation, greenhouse gas emissions, air quality, travel, tourism, and biodiversity.

Top overseas and New Zealand experts at the April conference will be seeking solutions to ending the days of rubbish. More than 150 delegates will hear the latest developments in zero waste and progress being made across New Zealand and overseas.

Experts from within the waste industry, community groups, recyclers, researchers and others will talk about the challenge of achieving a future with zero waste.

One key guest speaker is Palliser Estate wine head Richard Riddiford who will talk about sustainability and environment in a premium New Zealand winery.


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