Not being a sewer, I had a go at making a face mask from a pretty sock with a nice pink heal like I'd seen on the internet. The first time I wore it my friends hooted with laughter! So much for my efforts at creativity!
But luckily I have very talented and helpful friends who have made me some beautiful washable face masks using scraps of fabric from the very successful Fabric Rescue we held in Matakana in July. Thank you Sue Monk and Yuka.
Sue also made a selection of fabric face masks for our staff at our Lawrie Rd and Rustybrook Rd Recycling Centres. Not only are they more comfortable to wear but they are SO much better for our environment. There's heaps of patterns on line.
And you actually don't even need to sew a mask - you can make one out of a scarf or hankerchief and a couple of rubber banks. Check out Nanogirl's video showing us how https://zcu.io/ifNK
How many disposable masks have you started to see lying around in the environment? I came across a few lying in the gutters on my morning walk yesterday. I'm sure they weren't deliberately dropped, but mostly likely blown away or lost.
Disposable masks can only be used once and then need to be safely disposed of to landfill. They cannot be recycled - they contaminate recycling bins. And they cannot be flushed down the toilet either as they can cause a breakdown of our waste water and sewage system. Instead, they need to go into household rubbish, preferably wrapped in newspaper. This is especially important in the times of Covid19.
Better still, make your own, even if it looks silly like my pink nose job!
Not much growing in the garden? Try growing some sprouts in a jar. So easy to grow and ready in a few days. Convenient, nutritious, fresh, zero waste and zero food miles.
No special equipment needed – just a glass jar, a piece of cloth and a rubber band. Mung beans and lentil seeds work well for sprouting and can be economically purchased from bulk bin stores and there are some great tutorials on line. Bin Inn in Warkworth is open under Level 3 lockdown from 9 - 3 pm.
During Level 4 lockdown I think we all realised just how important community food resilience is! Having some food growing at home is extremely valuable. I have quite a big garden with lots of fruit trees, so am self-sufficient for fruit and vege over lockdown.
Not everyone can have a garden but even a few veges or herbs in a pot or on a windowsill are a great resource for a household. Or grow some microgreens in a seed tray.
New Zealand has a waste problem. We are disposing more and more waste into landfill.
Good news - the Government has just confirmed its plans to increase and expand the waste disposal levy over the next few years to divert material from landfill. It will use the revenue gathered from the waste levy for resource recovery and waste minimisation. This decision follows wide public consultation which supports this plan.
A bit of background:
In 2008 the Government passed the Waste Minimisation Act which included a Waste Levy. That meant that any waste sent to landfill incurred a charge of $10 per tonne. This charge is ludicrously low. Across the ditch in Australia, depending on the State, the waste levy is over $100/ tonne and in Europe it is much much more.
This money goes into a fund that is available for waste minimisation initiatives in communties. So far it has funded some amazing projects.
So zero wasters are celebrating the New Zealand government's decision to raise the waste in New Zealand over the next few years to $60 per tonne, because there will be much more money available for waste minimisation initiatives.
This will enable clever waste miniimisation ideas across the country to be supported, for example cardboard and plastic recycling plants and community resource recovery facilities. And in doing so, it will grow jobs, promote recycling and lower carbon emissions. A cause for celebration!
The Ministry for the Environment says "Increasing and expanding the levy will help recognise the real costs of waste, make it fairer for everyone and incentivise materials reuse and recycling rather than just ‘taking it to the tip’.
The proposed levy increases are likely to have a minimal impact on a family’s weekly budget. The Ministry for the Environment estimates that when fully implemented, the new levy could increase the cost of the weekly council kerbside rubbish bag by about 25c, depending on individual council decisions."
Congratulations to Yiwei Song for guessing the correct weight of our giant pumpkins - 186.05 kg! Well done! Yiwei is pictured here at Matakana Farmers Market with his prize, a basket of zero waste goodies worth $100. The pumpkins attracted such a lot of attention and were very popular with the kids who loved sitting on them!
We are delighted to have raised $391 in the competition, which will go towards our new composting project on site at Lawrie Rd. More details on that soon.
Join us at the Matakana Farmers Market this Saturday and make your guess on how much these 3 enormous pumpkins weigh. $2 per entry and the closest guess will win a basket of zero waste goodies.
Afterwards the pumpkins will be auctioned off - we are sure someone will love them to carve for halloween!
This is a fundraiser for Mahurangi Wastebusters new compost project. We are setting up a composting facility at our Lawrie Road Community Recycling Centre. We'll be collecting compostable waste from the Matakana Farmers Market and local businesses and turning it into beautiful compost for the garden.
We are grateful to Pam McLaren and Keith Trotter who grew these amazing pumpkins! Thank you!
Take up the challenge - can you go without plastic for the month of July? Or even for a week or a day?
Plastic Free July is a global movement - join in and see how much you can reduce single-use plastic waste everyday at home, work, school and even at your local cafe.
Check out the ideas and resources on www.plasticfreejuly.org and share your successes on Mahurangi Wastebusters fb page.
And for the first time ever there's going to be a New Zealand wide launch party! It’s a chance to connect up with other people around the country who are taking part in the challenge, learn some new tips and tricks to go plastic free and meet Rebecca Prince Ruis the founder of Plastic Free July. Rebecca started the challenge 10 years ago in Perth Australia with 30 friends taking part. Last year in New Zealand over 250,000 people took part in the challenge.
The virtual launch party will be held on Wednesday 24th June from 7pm- 8.30pm using Zoom. We will also be having an awesome line up of NZ presenters
Get your free ticket here https://events.humanitix.com/plastic-free-july-launch-party
We all know WHY we need to reduce our waste. Our planet is drowning in it. Extracting resources from the earth, using them badly and throwing them away as waste and pollution is not sustainable.
Need some inspiration on things you can do?
There's so much fantastic information online, so let's dive in.
The Rubbish Trip
Hannah Blumhardt and Liam Prince are an amazing young couple who have been travelling around New Zealand for the past 3 years running free workshops on how to reduce your household rubbish. They call themselves the No Waste Nomads. Wastebusters was lucky enough to host them in the Matakana Hall in 2017, again in Warkworth in Sept 2018 and they've been back again in Leigh in 2019.
Not only do Hannah and Liam give out valuable information on everything from alternatives to packaging and making your own toothpaste and face cream, but they also compile regional shopping guides in all the places they visit giving zero waste options.
How's this for an idea? Make your own all-purpose household cleanser out of citrus peels and vinegar! Imagine how much money that will save you over a year!
Or this one. Make your own pesto and crackers. Quick, easy and no packaging.
Not ony will you will find many ideas to inspire you on Hannah and Liam's website, there is also great information on waste in general and what's happening politically, as well as podcasts.
Waveney Warth and Matthew Luxon decided to live rubbish free for a year and to document their progress as they went. Their website is chock full of helpful tips and 50 articles on living zero waste, covering everything from from bulk foods to razors to making your own bread. The bread is delicious - I have tried it myself and can highly recommend it!
Matthew & Waveney and their delicious zero waste home made bread.
Compost your food scraps
One of the most effective things you can do to reduce your household waste is to compost your food scraps. Nearly half of Auckland's landfill waste is food scraps and garden waste. And whilst Auckland Council will be introducing a food scrap collection service for urban Auckland soon, it will not extend to North Rodney.
Composting is easy and there are several different ways to do it including worm bins and bokashi bins.
The Compost Collective runs free courses all over Auckland and they also have great online materials. If you'd like a course near you, or some advice, send them an email. You can also get a discount off a compost system (sponsored by Auckland Council) if you attend one of their courses.
Do you ever wonder what happens to your recycling and whether it really gets re-processed into new products? At Wastebusters we are always looking for places that sustainably and properly recycle materials so that we can divert them from landfill.
Some products like scrap metal and car/truck batteries have good value and we can sell them and get a return, so these are free for you to drop off. But others cost us money to send away, more than what they are worth, so we have to charge for them. Check out our up-to-date pricelist for details.
This is what happens to the recycling you drop off to us.
Glass bottles - are colour sorted and sent to Reclaim in Auckland where they arrange for them to be re-manufactured into new glass containers by OI Glass in Penrose, which has been manufacturing glass in New Zealand since 1922.
Plastics numbers 1 and 2 are the highest quality of the plastics and we send them Reclaim in Auckland. From there number 1 plastics go to Flight Plastics in Wellington where they are manufactured into new plastic containers which have no less than 60% recycled plastic in them. Number 2 plastics go to to be made into drainage pipes. Sadly, we don't have anywhere to send the lesser value plastics 3 - 7 at the moment, and these have to go to landfill.
Aluminium cans go to Endless Metals in Auckland for recycling, as do non-ferrous metals. Car batteries and electrical cables also go to Endless Metals.
Tins and other scrap metals go to SIMS Pacific Metals in Auckland.
Polystyrene goes to Abilities Group in Auckland, where it is compacted into bricks and sent to China for manufacturing into other products such as picture frames. Abilities is a non-profit, incorporated society dedicated to enriching the lives of people with disabilities through meaningful work.
Abilities also takes our e-waste for proper recycling. Abilities are holders of a Basel Permit to export printed circuit boards to Japan for processing to extract the precious metals. This reduces the dependency on underground mining for the same resources.
Gas bottles go to Matagas in Auckland.
Clear film is sent to Reclaim in Auckland.
Scrap timber is sent to Green Gorilla in Auckland where it is shredded and sent to Golden Bay Cement in Whangarei for fuel.
Tyres are sent to Waste Management where the metal is stripped out and the tyres are shredded for re-use, some of it in roading.
Fluorescent lamps and tubes are sent to Interwaste in Auckland. Fluorescent lamps contain mercury, a highly toxic waste, which, if disposed of irresponsibly can pollute waterways and damage the environment. Interwaste has developed a unique process for the separation and recycling of mercury.
Silage wrap goes to Plasback where it is manufactured in to Tuffboard, which is a plywood replacement product and can be used in a variety of applications and locations on farm.
Remember, if you sort and compact your load it will be cheaper as we charge by volume.
We're devoted to zero waste, and have wonderful local, wastebusters like Trish Allen, who will be sharing tips on reducing waste and keeping you up to date with what is happening at our Lawrie and Rustrybrook Road sites.