2023 has certainly been a year of unprecedented upheaval, locally, nationally and globally. It has tested our resilience and illuminated our sense of community.
Amongst other things we have been challenged locally by the roading situation, which isolates us, complicates supply and drives complexity into our homes and businesses. I was struck by just this point in a recent conversation with a TCDC staff member about the kerbside collection service. She mentioned the impact our roading woes were having on those who did the rubbish collection services – extending their driving time enormously every day as they came to Mercury Bay from Thames and beyond, and inhibiting their ability to get to all our communities with enough time to complete their standard service run.
I came away pondering what a localised service could do to alleviate these long journeys, how community controlled RTS could better flex in times of stress to meet the needs of our people, and how self-funded community-led services could contribute to spreading the already stretched ratepayer-generated revenue further.
Our collective of Coromandel Peninsula Resource Recovery Centres (which includes Wāhi Tukurua/ Mercury Bay Resource Recovery Centre) has been lobbying for just this in our recent Submission on TCDC Draft Waste Management and Minimisation Plan (WMMP). We believe this will enable better management of waste generally, especially in events and disasters.
Features of community run waste facilities and services include greater awareness of local waste issues. When the cyclone covered our beaches and roads with debris and eroded our coastlines, it felt great to respond as a community. We were proud of those who rolled up their sleeves, and we felt connected in our response.
Imagine what we could achieve if we bring this same can-do attitude and pragmatism to management and minimisation of our waste too. If we believed and acted like waste was not a “problem” but an “opportunity”, we would better realise the value in this rich resource. If we were self-directed and accountable rather than seeing Council as solely responsible and failing, we could be empowered to make change - moving from containing waste to promoting the valuable resource it is.
Global Recycling Day is an example and celebration of the mindset shift we’d need to embrace to bring this vision to life.. It is a day to showcase that whoever we are and wherever we live on this great planet, the better understanding of how recyclable goods are used and dispatched, and the championing of recycled goods from the plastics in our home to the metals in our buildings, is a collective, and global, concern”.
We see two key actions are required from Council to bring this to life in our community: (1) adopt our recommendations on the TCDC WMMP and (2) prioritise completion of the Wāhi Tukurua and the Whitianga RTS on Moewai Road. Immediate action on these two items would allow our community to truly embrace the goals of Global Recycling Day and bring our vision of “waste” transformed to “resource” to life. It would ensure that resources are processed properly at dedicated local recycling centres, rather than buried in landfill out of district.
It’s not a new idea. The 3Rs – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle - have been around for decades. The concept of sustainable development has been broadly embraced since the adoption of Agenda 21 in 1992. But it is an idea coming into its own – by rethinking what we throw away, we have the power to change the world – definitely our part of the world.
NO TIME TO WASTE: please see inside page two for where to go and when.