For years scientists have been talking about ‘the sixth mass extinction’ we are currently in. Human overpopulation and overconsumption are to blame, and are in turn affecting our environment and the natural habitats of our most vulnerable and endangered species. ‘Protect our Species’ is the theme for Earth Day 2019, whether it’s reusing, recycling, or simply refusing – every little bit contributes to protecting the world’s species, and there’s ways you or your business can also help!
We have implemented the practice of hand-sorting all materials from our recycle bins, to ensure that everything we send to a recycling facility is absolutely 100% recyclable
Here at Auckland Zoo we have implemented the winning practice of hand-sorting all materials from our recycle bins, to ensure that everything we send to a recycling facility is absolutely 100% recyclable.
“We learned through a waste specialist that if contamination of your recycling is above 3 – 4%, then recycling centres will turn everything away and all your recycling will be diverted to landfill,” says Auckland Zoo environmental sustainability advisor, Tessa Chilala.
Tessa says this discovery, along with China’s decision last year to no longer accept Grades 3 – 7 recycling materials was a great opportunity to review our processes and look at how we could do things better.
We learned through a waste specialist that if contamination of your recycling is above 3 – 4%, then recycling centres will turn everything away and all your recycling will be diverted to landfill
Some of the contamination the Zoo was discovering in its recycling bins throughout its grounds, at times up to 40%, included foods, soft plastics and polystyrene and even baby wipes and nappies.
“Thanks to our wonderful Grounds team who have taken on this role of sorting our recycling – which takes just a few extra hours a week, we’re now 100% confident that what we’re recycling will have a second life, and not end up in landfill,” says Tess.
Auckland Zoo’s Grounds Team are an incredibly special bunch – these guys are the hard-working early-risers that get in before the gates open, to make sure Auckland Zoo looks stunning for the public every single day. Their dedication to the zoo and the environment, means they have taken on the role sorting through the recycling twice a day, to ensure that we are playing our part in reducing our impact on the environment.
A CarboNZero accredited organisation, Auckland Zoo has eliminated single use plastic bags and water bottles, is phasing out plastic juice bottles, sells re-usable water bottles and has free water bottle refilling stations throughout its grounds. It also works closely with its on-site caterers and is continuing to work with suppliers to reduce packaging.