Yeah I got there!!! it was inevitable really.
An open letter to the Dunedin City Council, Otago Regional Council and Otago Daily Times sent 19.04.2017
In regards to the article in Saturday 8 April 2017 ODT entitled “What's best for City's rubbish?”
As a Dunedin resident I am concerned on numerous levels, of the current waste management being undertaken by the Dunedin City Council. I am quite perturbed about the proposed solutions in this article which do not solve the overall waste issue.
The current proposed solutions don’t look at actually reducing waste which would be a more cost effective and environmentally healthy solution. I believe we should be focused more on reducing the waste and minimising what goes to landfill. The waste generated in Dunedin is increasing every year and this needs serious attention. Educating and encouraging the community to be apart of the solution would be a valuable process to engage in.
Having a company that profits by landfilling as a long term solution to waste management is no longer a viable option. If you are actually trying to ask what is best for Dunedin city’s rubbish then we need to look at a long term solution. Trucking waste to landfill is not the answer anymore especially since we are running out of room to bury the waste. Trucking it out of Dunedin to other communities that are struggling to deal with their own waste is not a viable solution. All of these are like plugging a drain with a sieve.
I believe we now need to look past these proposed decisions to a long term plan of not just sustaining what we already have but regenerating our land back to its former glory. We have a forgotten status here in Dunedin and that is one of a Zero waste city, which we have been since 1999 with a goal of being zero waste by 2015, we are so far away from this goal it is laughable. But I ask you what if we honored the zero waste city status that we currently have and work towards not needing that landfill?
What if we decided to get innovative and create a better system that will encourage people to be more mindful of resources. Actually participating in recycling, reusing and product stewardship, whilst encouraging people to participate and lessen waste to landfill. There are so many benefits even the council can profit by creating a system that gives back, with jobs and new business opportunities to strengthen our local economy. There is already multiple evidence of possibilities in our New Zealand community ie: Wanaka Waste Busters, Love Food Hate Waste, We Compost, Pare Kore, Kaibosh and Foodshare, Waiheke Resources Trust and Xtreme Zero Waste in Raglan to name a few.
Lets be part of the bigger answer to a nationwide issue and global problem. We need to extend our vision further than that. As Cr Kate Wilson says, “maybe we need to look at what's best for Dunedin, rather than just the financials”. Our own Waste Management and Minimisation Plan (2013) says that “Education for sustainability programmes would benefit from a more holistic DCC approach and Otago Regional Council engagement.” This conversation goes beyond money into what’s best for our future as a whole. We take, make, waste at present but lets create, collaborate and communicate instead. This has been a personal drive for me for a very long time and I would be more than happy to help facilitate this conversation into the future. To collaborate with other active NZ zero waste communities out there such as the Waiheke Resource Trust and Xtreme Zero Waste.
We need to start looking at it as resource not waste, a change of mindset on what it contains as the Waiheke Resources Trust purpose states “We work to celebrate and protect all the resources we have already, and build capacity and knowledge in the community toward the creation of a resource-full future for all.”
“Xtreme Zero Waste is a community enterprise, using business as a tool to meet the needs of our community. Xtreme Zero Waste is contracted by Waikato District Council to operate weekly kerbside collections and the Raglan Resource Recovery Centre. At approximately 75% diversion from landfill, we are turning Raglan’s waste into resources and moving forward to zero waste.”
Moving towards these goals as a whole city community and council engaging and inspiring innovation towards a more circular economy with design led solutions. Those actively involved in looking at the long term solution of actual waste management are already paving a way forward using transformative system change - “Working with communities to empower them rather than to change them” Rob Comber - University of Newcastle -
“The current economic system is linear and ends in a landfill. In a circular economy you design your way out of a need to dump” Daniel Kristensen
There are many examples of what's possible both in New Zealand and overseas. For instance in Japan: The residents of Kamikatsu, a town of 1,700, sort their trash into 34 different categories, 80% gets recycled but by 2020 their goal is to be completely zerowaste. Cutting the cost by ⅓ to when they were incinerating. “If you get used to it, it becomes normal,” a Kamikatsu resident says in the video. “Now I don’t think about it. It’s become natural to separate the trash correctly.”
At the moment the waste management system is Conventional. The system becomes Green when the recyclables are separated out. It becomes Sustainable when we get all the waste being composted and the recyclables separated out. We become Restorative when we actually use the waste to create value with business and employment opportunities. Regeneration happens when we give back to the environment. Having a landfill situated in an estuary is an ecological disaster waiting to happen in itself and goes against all of the systemic requirements.
I have been a resident of Dunedin for 36 years and my family has been here for 3 generations, I also Whakapapa to Moitoitoi 1212. I believe it is possible to achieve the zero waste intent we have set in Dunedin’s Waste Minimisation and Management Plan, by utilising the central government's Waste Minimisation Fund to achieve it. If this is the future of Dunedin I would be very excited to get involved in the new outlook and I believe it will benefit Dunedin, Otago, its residents and environs immensely.
88 Vogel St
Love is the answer!!!
<3 <3 <3
Fiona Clements. Pakeha, Kai Tahu, Craftivist, Sustainable Fashion and Zerowaste Textile Practitioner. Conscious Consumer advocate.