A rubbish-strewn highway and beach in the Far North are much tidier thanks to students at Waima and Riverview Schools.
Nearly 100 students from the schools took part in clean-up days organised by CBEC Eco Solutions at State Highway 12 and Opito Bay last month.
Waima School students picked up about 40kg of rubbish from a 2km section of road reserve near the school 26 kms south-west of Kaikohe.
Fifty-eight year three and four Riverview School students and 25 parents removed more than 22 kg of rubbish, including more than 11kg of glass bottles, from Opito Bay.
Clean up organiser Sue Woods says students were surprised to find a car windscreen, tyre, hub cap, electrical cable and nappy among the rubbish they collected at the bay 10km from the Kerikeri school.
Most of the rubbish students at the schools collected was too dirty or dangerous (broken glass) to be sorted for recycling.
However, the process of sorting the materials reinforced what students had learned about recycling.
Mrs Woods plans to encourage more schools to take responsibility for tidying public areas in 2012 as part of her Zero Waste Education Programme work.
“The main contract focus is currently about educating schools on reducing waste to landfill and communicating the reduce, reuse, recycle message.”
Far North District Council infrastructure and asset manager David Penny says the council is happy to support CBEC’s Zero Waste Education Programme with money it receives from the government’s waste minimisation fund.
“The Far North district is acknowledged as a leader in waste minimisation and CBEC can take a lot of the credit for getting people to reduce waste to landfill.”
A 50 percent reduction in waste volumes that went to landfills three years ago is achievable by the end of 2013 if people produce less waste and recycle more, Mr Penny says.
“The district surpassed the council’s intermediate waste reduction goal of 320kg per person by coming in at 302 kg in June last year.
“The challenge is to reduce waste to landfill to 260kg per person by the end of June this year.”