Good For All News - HOPE IN ACTION
BY LIAM DALY, NILA TAYLOR & DEBBIE TAN ON NOVEMBER 21, 2018
It’s that time of year again: No Waste November! This campaign aims to get individuals, communities, and institutions to tackle the global waste issue by making pledges, and making changes, to reduce the amount of waste they produce. The beauty of No Waste November is that “waste” can mean anything: using too much water; driving everywhere instead of taking public transport; or consuming more electricity than you need are some examples. This campaign recognises waste can take many forms based on culture, gender, lifestyles, and age groups. However, much of the focus is on traditional waste: plastic bags, straws, packaging, food scraps. Basically any kind of rubbish or recycling.
On average, New Zealanders produce 734 kilograms of waste per year. We are one of the highest per capita waste-producing countries in the OECD. In May 2018, the recycling sector released a report calling for urgent government action. This report states that "the market for recycled materials has collapsed because China is, in effect, shutting out our recyclables" and "many councils and recycling operators in New Zealand are struggling to cope due to the lack of markets and lower income". The sector even went so far as to admit that the way we manage waste is fundamentally broken. The image above is typical of many warehouses around the country, as recyclables are being stockpiled due to the lack of available markets. Some councils are even sending recyclable material to landfills. Landfill waste contributes significantly to climate change through the release of methane gas, as well as the obvious physical impacts they have on the landscape as they grow.
When it comes to waste, disposing of it is a significant issue. A key problem we have is how we as individuals create waste. Though councils and regulations do play a role, it is also up to us. The environmental impact of New Zealand’s waste is why it is so important for us to try and reduce our waste. As an individual you can have an impact. Every single time you refuse a straw, use your reusable bag, or opt for refilling a jar instead of buying packaged food you are producing one less piece of rubbish. If every New Zealander did something once a day to produce one less piece of waste, we would save 1.7 billion items from heading to landfill. Think about how much energy that could save; how much potential litter it would reduce; or how many trees would be prevented from being cut down. This is why campaigns such as No Waste November are so important.
MAKE A #NWN PLEDGE & JOIN THE GLOBAL ACTION
Individuals all around the globe are making pledges and changes. Here are some examples of hope in action!
Hannah Faris from Canada pledges to give up single use plastics this No Waste November. Single use plastics encompasses all plastics which cannot be recycled through the normal processing plants and includes products such as plastic bags, cereal packets, cotton buds and many others. These products take many years to break down, and some never do, remaining in the environment indefinitely. Their components, including hazardous microplastics, find their way into waterways and eventually into the ocean, wreaking havoc for marine life including seabirds, marine mammals and fish. If everyone were to give up single use plastics, like Hannah is, the outlook for precious marine ecosystems could be significantly improved.
Another supporter from Canada has pledged to give up single use plastic bottles. Plastic bottles take up to 450 years to degrade in the environment and during this time can be a serious hazard for marine and terrestrial animals. Switching to a reusable bottle such as one made of metal or glass is so easy and can help to remove 150 single use plastic bottles from the environment per person per year!
Brunch & Burger from Wellington are pledging to reduce their carbon footprint through recycling and composting, not only for No Waste November, but also going forward. This will significantly reduce the businesses’ waste, of which food waste makes up at least 40%. The amount of food that goes to waste in hospitality every day is phenomenal and by composting, the industry could significantly reduce this, putting ingredients and uneaten meals to good use. The business is also acting as a great role model, not just for other local businesses but also for households. After all, if a hospitality business can do it, so too can all families in New Zealand!
Alexandra from the Jane Goodall Institute Chile will only buy and use packaging that can be recycled. It can be so easy to simply buy what we need from the supermarket, without thinking about what it comes packed in, and in takes a conscious change in habits to buy only goods contained in recyclable packaging. Good on you Alexandra, hopefully you can inspire others to do the same and increase the ripple of change towards no waste.
We encourage you to join us this No Waste November, make a pledge, and let's see the power of collective change! Find out more: http://www.janegoodall.org.nz/no-waste-november-1/
Feel inspired to make impact all year round?? - Find out more about the issue and changes you can make via our 'Sustainable Selves' camapign: http://www.janegoodall.org.nz/jgi-nz-campaigns/sustainable-selves/