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Encouraging Regional Sustainability

The Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) is committed to reducing waste and is working closely with its contractors Waste Management NZ and Wastebusters to lead local communities ad visitors towards a zero waste future and sustainable district.

“The beautiful mountains and lakes draw people here and we want to look after our environment for future generations,” says Wanaka Wastebusters communications manager Gina Dempster.“ Every effort that visitors make to reduce waste is valued by our community.”

“We encourage out of town people to think about practical ways they can support our commitment to waste reduction and help look after our place, such as carrying  a reusable bag, putting recycling and rubbish in the right bins, eating in instead of taking food away and refilling water bottles.”

QLDC’s Waste Minimisation and Management Plan documents its goals reflecting those of the New Zealand Waste strategy which is focused on reducing the harmful effects of waste.

“Glass, organics and more support for waste reduction initiatives have been identified as priorities in this plan. Council has increased the level of support for community-led waste minimisation initiatives, including the community contestable fund and more promotion of events, workshops and programmes that minimise waste,” says QLDC GM Property and Infrastructure Peter Hansby.

Grants approved in the latest Council funding round include support for Sustainable Queenstown’s Dishrupt service and education trailer providing reusable dishes and cups at local public events, Local Food Wanaka’s Autumn Apple Drive teaching a hands-on approach to using surplus fruit across the region and ONE New Zealand/Plastic Free Wanaka which implements a cup reuse scheme in cafés.

Gina says hospitality businesses have championed the single-use cup free movement with the establishment of Wanaka Hospo-Goes-Eco – a group of cafés who got together after the 2018 One Summit which was held in the Southern Lakes, to make their local café  culture more sustainable.

“This single-use cup free initiative has received a lot of support from Wanaka businesses and now has five venues joining early adapter Cardrona Alpine Resort which went single-use cup free in 2018. This includes Big Fig Wanaka, Federal Diner, Fedeli Café, Pembroke Patisserie and Buzz Cut.”

With funding from QLDC’s Waste Minimisation Community Fund, Plastic Free Wanaka recently implemented a new cup reuse scheme called Again Again in Wanaka cafés.

Again Again provides reusable steel cups which are available by deposit and return at participating cafés,” says Gina. “ So, if you forget your reusable cup, you can borrow one without adding single-use waste to your morning coffee routine. There are now 16 cafés in the district offering the returnable cup scheme.”

She says tourists can join in the zero-waste journey by reducing their use of disposables and recycling correctly and local businesses can help them achieve this.

“For businesses in Queenstown, Arrowtown, Wanaka or Glenorchy there are many ways to support visitors such as offering them a place to refill their water bottles or showing them where to buy reusable items like bottles, cups and bags. Letting visitors know how to recycle in our district is also important as each area is different across the country.”