Spring has sprung in Kaitaia, a few groups combined forces on Saturday 15th September to spruce up the old Pak ‘nSave and surrounding areas, remove tagging, rubbish and weeds, and plant some lovely gardens. They also water blasted, ran a litter collection, and generally gave our township a bit of well deserved love! EcoSolutions were happy to run a brand and waste audit on the collected litter.
Did you know that cigarette butts are plastic, and do not rot? Or that all our drains in town head out to sea?
I was surprised to see how much plastic was caught up in drains, and in weedy areas around town.
This is two hours collection, by a few groups (the others were planting, weeding, and painting) and this is only the recyclables that were taken to the Resource Recovery Centre; there were 16 bags of waste sent to landfill on top of this. Most litter found was waste degraded plastic. We found a lot of plastic on top of drains around town, just waiting for the next rain to make it down to our moana.
We collected over 80 glass bottles from around Kaitāia central. Glass is made from our beautiful silica beaches. Making glass out of sand takes a lot more energy than making glass from old glass (recycling) and it wastes a resource. Each bottle recycled saves 20 minutes electricity to run a light of a computer. This haul constitutes a waste of 160 minutes of electricity. If we had a container deposit scheme these bottles would have earned someone $8. Some of these bottles were too dirty to recycle, they have been saved and will be used in a natural plaster workshop!
Aluminium cans are hard to make from their natural resource, bauxite, which is mined in Australia. Each can recycled saves 30 minutes electricity, we collected 180 cans; recycled these save 9 hours electricity. Someone would have earned $18 if we had a container deposit scheme.
We found 83 plastic bottles, many of which were large soda bottles. As plastic is made of petroleum it will never go away, just break into smaller and smaller pieces, head down our rivers to the sea, fish will eat the microplastic; this makes our kaimoana toxic. These bottles could have earned someone $8.30.
Does this belong to you? Some of our litter belongs to our takeaway providers. Coffee and milk shake cups are coated in plastic, will not rot, and will make our kaimoana toxic when eventually eaten.
Is this yours? Most of our takeaway providers allow you to bring your own containers The sushi shop now has plates for those dining in!
There is more mahi to do – come along to the 2018 Ahipara beach clean up!! See you on the 10th of November! Please like and share the beach clean up Facebook group , sign up on the Facebook event, and watch out for updates.
What a difference the volunteers made! It was such a great day, well done!
by Jo Shanks, CBEC Ecosolutions
Watch out for a full report from the organizers on all aspects of the Community Clean Up that will follow in a later post!