01 March 2016

Five Bay of Plenty waste reduction projects have received a share of a $50,000 fund aimed at maximising the benefits and minimising the harm from waste.

Administered by Bay of Plenty Regional Council, the Waste Resources Advisory Group (WRAG) launched this fund in 2014 to support local businesses, industry, councils, or community groups to improve waste management. Groups who were successful in this second round of funding include Beyond the Bin, Heilala Vanilla, Tauranga City Council, CReW Whakatāne and Good Neighbour Food Rescue.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council Senior Project Implementation Officer Reece Irving says it was great to be able to support such a variety of projects.

“From diverting tonnes of coffee grounds from the landfill to collecting and redistributing useable food products from supermarkets, the WRAG fund has supported a range of projects that are reducing waste and encouraging sustainability” says Mr Irving.

One of the successful recipients was local social enterprise Beyond the Bin, who received $12,200 to develop an online tool to display event waste data. Operations and Strategy Director Kim Renshaw explains that the tool enables users to see how different districts are performing in terms of event waste diversion from landfill.

"We wanted to create a visualisation which made it easy to understand event waste statistics and how much event waste was being diverted from landfill in a district. For example you can see that Tauranga City average diversion rate for events where we've measured the waste is 91%. These events have diverted almost 4 tonnes of waste into composting and recycling," said Ms Renshaw.

Beyond the Bin was also working with other local councils from around New Zealand to collect more event waste data.

Another recipient was Heilala Vanilla who since having the $4,300 approved in October last year has already made a big impact. They have repurposed 144 high-density polyethylene buckets and distributed 1450kg of spent vanilla beans for garden mulch.

The project is on-going explains Production Manager Jamie Cantlon.

“I have been receiving great feedback from the gardeners out there and even have a waiting list of people looking to source it”, says Mr Cantlon.

The fund was designed to promote the region’s Waste and Resource Efficiency Strategy’s actions and initiatives.