At this year’s Matariki celebrations, we trialed a system with our rubbish, aiming to recycle or compost as much as possible.

Our volunteer Sarah reports on its success below!

Aim: to recycle or compost as much waste as possible.

I set up a number of bins the day before the event. I used the Green CCC bin and labelled it Food and Napkins, and the Red CCC bin was labeled Foil Trays.
I had smaller bucket style bins with the following labels:
Cups only – No Napkins or food
Unused salt and pepper sachets only
Zip lock bags only – no food
Cutlery only – no food
The cup bin was placed next to the water table. I did a few times have to remove used cups from the table to put into the bin. I also removed 1 coke can from this bin – the only contamination.
All the other bins were in a row between the tables and our main storage area for rubbish bins.

The plan was for the cups to go into our CCC yellow recycling bin. We had purchased cups for a previous event, after talking with the CCC. These cups are PET 1.
Unused salt and pepper sachets – we will hopefully be able to reuse these. We also put unused bags that contained the cutlery and napkins in this bin.
The zip lock bags will go through our terracycle programme. – I hadn’t anticipated that these would be greasy from the hāngi food. These need to be washed before going for recycling.
All the cutlery will go through the dishwasher and be reused for future events.

The response from the public was amazing. I monitored the bins and tried to explain what we were doing. The napkins, food and food contaminated newspaper was going to be composted by the council.
I told people that usually after an event like this we would have up to three bins going to landfill. This event we planned to and achieved only 1 bin going to end up in landfill!!!
Some people got really enthusiastic and were helping other people to sort their rubbish. Many people had just screwed up everything into a pile. I tried as much as possible to encourage them to sort their own rubbish but would also offer help.
This was also a good chance to introduce the terracycle programme – I just wish I had thought to have some printed information to show or give!
Towards the end the bins were left unattended. When I came back a bit of compostable or recycling was in the red rubbish bin.

Next time: Probably no need for snap bags. We could have Help-Yourself pottles of knives and forks, napkins, and seasonings.
We might let people know in advance that all rubbish will need to be sorted before they put it in the bins – this may encourage people not screw up food inside the foil trays and instead start the sorting process at their tables. This could be done by having signs on the tables.
Although the cups are to be recycled, a better step would be for us to be able to reuse them or encourage people to bring their own Keep Cups. – maybe we could make Phillipstown Keep cups!!