What steps would you take to ensure that recycling facilities are upgraded and recycling becomes 'second nature' for businesses and individuals?
Q1. Where something is \\\"second nature\\\" then it becomes almost
automatic and it would be unthinkable to throw something away without
first seeing whether it could be reused or recycled etc.
Steps to be taken need to be built on what is already working well in
communities - there is no need to start from a blank page. Incentives
work best. Recognition of success is important. Encouragement of
family and community approaches will bring success at a local level.
Upgraded, well - lit, hygienic and and regularly emptied recycling
stations around the city need to be provided. Street clean-ups must be
1. Businesses: Businesses need to be rewarded for having recycling
systems in place and this may require WCC to visit each business-
starting with the larger ones - and assess their recycling systems and
see whether and how they can be improved. Issuing annual warrants of
recycling fitness etc and special awards to recognise good schemes are
2. Individuals: Education is the place to start. Community gardens,
school vegetable plots etc could benefit from compost material, and
there could be stories about how households can use vegetable scraps
etc in their own gardens.
Better recycling stations - regularly monitored and maintained could
be set up for glass, plastic and paper.
We need to take three main steps:
1. We need to make recycling easier. Initiatives such as Target Sustainability http://www.targetsustainability.co.nz/ and TerraNova http://terranova.org.nz/, both in Christchurch, should be fostered by WCC.
2. We need to make people stop and think before they dispose of recyclables. Higher landfill charges coupled with better recycling facilities at landfills would mean that the environmentally correct thing to do also become economically right. (We also need to make sure that higher landfill charges don\'t mean an increase in ilegal dumping.)
3. We need to lobby central and regional government for more emphasis on recycling. As Robert Ayres says in Industrial Metabolism, 94% of the resources used to make products are wasted before the product is sold (including the fossil fuels used in very long supply chains), 4.8% is wasted within 6 weeks (because of the high proportion of throwaway or short-life products), so after 6 weeks only 1.2% of the original resources are still in use in the product. Even recycling all that 1.2% is the small tip of a very large iceberg, and we need to build recycling into the initial design of the product, not worry about it just at the end. The Germans can do it, so we can too.
We need to make recycling as easy and as fun as we can. The basis of all good projects is getting community buy in, and before this can be achieved, people need to understand why we should recycle, and how easily it can be done.
We need to make this a community project - people get lost with the \'saving the world\' message, and we need to communicate to people how better Wellington would be, and how the benefits of recycling would benefit our lives.
Here are a few suggestions as how we should start to change our recycling culture:
1. Making recycling fun for children. Get the children to champion recycling - run school competitions on designing family recycling bins, making things out of recycled goods and encourage awareness that things often have more than one life.
2. Being more transparent about what happens to our recycled materials. Educate the public on the journey of recycled goods and how recycling impacts on our every day lives and the Wellington environment.
3. Upgrade landfills and provide more assistance. Last year I was in the UK and visited one of their landfill operations. I was so impressed with their recycling operations - things were sorted in minute detail and there was plenty of help on hand from willing helpers. It made me feel as if we were really doing something good - we need to make this a \'feel good\' experience.
4. Design better home collection bins. I live on the south coast and on a windy day there is more of my neighbours recycling on the road than there is left in the bin! We need well designed and easy to use bins - let\'s make this process a pleasure, not yet another chore.