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Funding for more bright ideas to save waste

Tuesday, 7 July 2015 10:00 a.m.

A fund which helped turn trash into treasure is available again for new projects throughout the Bay of Plenty.

The Waste Resources Advisory Group (WRAG), administered by Bay of Plenty Regional Council, launched a $50,000 fund last year to help waste minimisation initiatives from Bay of Plenty-based businesses, industry, councils, or community groups get off the ground. After a successful first year, the Fund will open to new applications again from Monday 13 July.

Last year the Fund supported six projects in the region that diverted 50 tonnes of waste from landfill, saved thousands of dollars in landfill fees, generated much-needed income for charitable trusts, helped to feed struggling families and provided employment.

The funded projects covered a range of initiatives in Whakatane, Rotorua and Tauranga. They included projects to collect and re-sell construction waste, a food rescue project, organic waste diverted from cafes, waste education workshops, a marae-based zero waste project and community worm farming.

WRAG is administered by Bay of Plenty Regional Council and made up of district and city councils, community groups, Toi Te Ora Public Health, industry and businesses with an interest in managing waste.

Regional Council Project Implementation Officer Reece Irving said the contestable fund was designed to promote the actions and initiatives of the region’s Waste and Resource Efficiency Strategy.

“Our aim is to foster collaboration and partnerships, improve data and information management, increase resource efficiency, reduce the harmful impacts of waste and encourage beneficial reuse. We want to stimulate research and innovation while reducing waste going to landfill,” he said.

Project funding applications will be scored against criteria aligned with the Waste Strategy's key focus areas. The WRAG is keen to see projects which would be co-funded from other funding sources as well.

“Waste efficiency and minimisation is not just driven by councils; it involves the community, business and industry working together. WRAG’s 16 members include representatives from all of these sectors.”

Chair of the Regional Council’s Regional Direction and Delivery Committee Paula Thompson said last year WRAG had spread the available funding across as many projects as it could.

“We wanted the money to be spread across the greatest number of projects, so we boosted the fund by a small amount, and with some savings here and there we funded six projects. The success of the projects we funded last year demonstrated the value of a small amount of funding in achieving great things,” Ms Thompson said.

Applications for the WRAG Fund close on Friday 14 August.

WRAG will meet in mid-September to consider the projects. Successful projects will receive funds in October. Fund application forms and further information are available on the Regional Council’s website at www.boprc.govt.nz/wrag.

For further media information please contact Katrina Knill, Communications Partner, on 0800 884 880.

WRAG fund clean up