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Spotlight: Zero Waste at Wallingford

Several months ago, our Nurse Manager and Quality Administrator from Enliven at Wallingford Home in Temuka had a discussion about a project that has been several years in the making.  We wanted to explore the possibility of reducing the waste that went to the skip daily.  The cost to empty the skip is about $4500.00 per annum for Wallingford.

We started by taking a survey of how many black rubbish bags were being disposed of daily.  Our Gardener and Handyman also noted how full the skip was each week.  We consulted Briony Woodnorth (Zero Waste Advisor with Timaru District Council) who came to have a look around Wallingford.  She was very encouraging and suggested that we could possibly do away with the skip altogether!

We had a staff meeting where Briony came to speak and we worked out how many small bins we needed in each room, how many big bins were needed in the sluice and treatment rooms and what colours were needed (red for waste, green for compostables and yellow for recycling).  We also estimated how many kerbside bins were needed.

Through the Eden Alternative Philosophy our residents were involved with the idea from the beginning.  Briony also came to speak to them.  (Ironically, most of them were better at recycling in their day than we are now!) Our resident chickens were also included and were happy to help with the disposing of food scraps.

In a very short space of time (only a few months) we have managed to reduce our waste to the point that the skip only requires emptying periodically (not weekly or fortnightly), reducing the cost of emptying the skip and the majority of our waste can now go into the kerbside bins for collection.

We have all been very excited to see the difference we have made and are still finding ways that we can reduce, reuse and recycle.  There are still numerous conversations and suggestions around disposing of waste and at Wallingford we think this is a journey worth taking!

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About Eve Williams

Eve Williams is the Content Developer and Social Media Administration for Eldernet. She is currently studying towards her Masters at the University of Canterbury. She has a passion for learning new things.