As more people cotton on to the need for better waste management, Wanaka’s love of recycling its waste is being exported to the rest of the country.
Wanaka Wastebusters communications officer Gina Dempster said organisationswere increasingly asking for help and advice from the pioneer recycler.
The community-owned enterprise began in 2000, and since then has grown to have a turnover of almost $2.5million a year across their sites in Wanaka and Alexandra.
There was a “huge amount of desire” to recreate their successful model in other regions, she said.
“We get approached regularly by communities going ‘we want a Wastebusters, we want to set one up’.”
There was a big movement to have resource recovery centres, and recently they advised the Auckland City Council on setting up four centres.
“They came down and visited us and took us as a kind of model”.
Many people took advantage of the on-site shop, which sold everything from fabric to furniture, ski gear and collectables.
Electronic waste was growing worldwide, and the amount of electronic waste arriving at Wastebusters had been increasing.
“It is great that people are actually bringing it here as opposed to putting it in landfill.”
What you do as an individual “really matters”, she said.
“Because if enough individuals do it, that is when companies change, that is when governments take action.”
Companies were beginning to “take more responsibility”, Ms Dempster said.
“I’ve been here 13 years and I’m seeing a big shift in companies wanting to do the right thing.”
But it took time for change to happen, she said.
The Government recently announced plans to reduce waste, including more onshore processing of recyclables.
Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage said part of the ministry’s work programme would include reviewing kerbside collection and processing systems to identify how to increase the quality of recyclables and to ensure more materials could be recovered and recycled instead of going to landfill.
“New Zealand is still one of the highest producers of household waste in the developed world, per capita.
“This is despite waste being the second-most pressing issue for New Zealanders according to research commissioned by the Ministry for the Environment,” she said.