Strengthening Communities Hui kicks off

“The first session of the annual Strengthening Communities Hui was a fantastic success with environmental educators, zero waste practitioners, business owners, Local Government staffers and many more, all coming together to discuss the step-change we need to see to get to a regenerative circular economy,” said Dorte Wray, Executive Officer of the Zero Waste Network.

“Speakers like Nada Piatek, of reusable takeaway serviceware company Again Again and Kahurangi Carter of Māori zero waste organisation Para Kore talked brilliantly about the mix of social, economic and environmental shifts that are happening – and the big picture changes that are needed.”

“The second event for the Hui was a panel on E-waste, one of New Zealand’s most significant and toxic waste streams. E-waste was designated a priority product under the Waste Minimisation Act, and work is underway to design a product stewardship scheme. The movement to deal with E-waste includes a demand for the right to repair, something that has received significant attention overseas, particularly in the US. The goal of the movement is to get companies to make spare parts, tools and information on how to repair devices available to customers and repair shops to increase the lifespan of products and to keep them from ending up in landfills. Part of this event was to prepare people for the launch of Repair Cafe Aotearoa NZ on  International Repair Day on 16 October.”

“Consumer NZ speaker Paul Smith reminded the E-waste panel that the greenest product is the one that already exists. In order to reduce the 80,000 tonnes of electrical and electronic waste disposed of into landfills in New Zealand per year in landfills, we have to stop buying stuff we don’t need, repair things instead of replacing them, and stop buying cheap, poorly made products.”

“The entire Strengthening Communities Hui is online and free of charge. The second day workshops on Wednesday include a panel on behaviour change because insight into what drives people buying and using things can help us in our work getting to zero waste. The second workshop of the day is a panel on organic waste. Organics have been under the spotlight because of their contribution to methane, an aggressive climate change gas, as well as growing food poverty and soil depletion.”

“This year’s theme for the Hui is Collective Action on Climate Change. Each of the three networks’ members involved in the Hui make a positive contribution to reducing greenhouse gases and providing pathways to climate change action. All of our sessions this week are working up to the keynote addresses on climate change on Friday from Minister James Shaw and Para Kore’s Jacqui Forbes.” 

“This is a critical time for Aotearoa NZ in terms of addressing climate change. The Zero Waste Network has real life, practical solutions to address climate change now. Our network is growing, and we are excited about the work going on across levels of government and society for real, transformative change.”