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Z Waste Warriors lead the way on recycling

24/12/2013 - General News

Christine Langdon

There’ll be no empty boxes or bottles going to the landfill from Colin Lippert’s household this Boxing Day – or from his workplace at Z Belfast in Christchurch.

Colin Lippert has just recycled his way into fame as Z’s 2013 National ‘Waste Warrior’ - inspiring and guiding his team at Z Belfast to recycle up to 89% of the monthly waste from their site.  

In a three month challenge with competing Z service stations, the Z Belfast site averaged 85% of total waste sent to recycling.

That’s 4.75 tonnes of recycling over the 3 months of the competition – or the equivalent weight of about 4 family-sized cars.  

Z Retail Sustainability Manager Gerri Ward said the massive waste reduction had required Colin and his team at Z Belfast to consistently separate food waste, general waste and recycling at their site.

“It’s no small feat and required total dedication and consistency. After being nominated by his operations manager to be Z Belfast’s Waste Warrior, Colin really took up the mantle, led by example and consistently motivated his fellow team members. His commitment even went as far as phoning his operations manager at 10:30pm to alert him to non-recyclables in the recycling bin!

“Colin was able to tap into his team’s established habits of recycling at home, thanks to Christchurch city’s excellent recycling programme, to motivate them to carry their recycling habits over to their workplace too.”

Gerri says the recycling programme hasn’t just been good for the environment, but for team morale too.

“They’ve found it a really positive thing to be doing. They’ve pulled together as a team to nail the challenge and are rightly proud of what they’re achieving. It’s a fantastic example of our Z heroes on the ground getting into action to enable us to achieve our national sustainability goals.”

Second place in Z’s inaugural national Waste Warriors challenge went to Graeme Mellow at Z Waiwhakaiho in New Plymouth, with an average 80% of waste going to recycling. Tala Simati at Z Greenlane in Auckland was a close third, with 75% of all waste from that site going to recycling.

“The passion and the energy that our people have brought to the recycling challenge have underscored what Z is all about,” Gerri says. “Our people feel proud that customers come to us for awesome service and great coffee, because we’re a Kiwi company, and because we have our Good in the Hood programme; with our commitment to sustainability embedded within that.”

On a national mission to cut the waste its service stations send to landfill by 70% by 2015, Z has installed recycling bins to separate retail waste at all of its sites, and is also rolling out forecourt recycling for its customers. Z now has recycling bins on 85 of its forecourts, with more planned.

“Since starting the recycling programme, so far we have saved at least a thousand tonnes of waste from going to landfill. This is a massive achievement, and only possible through the efforts and enthusiasm of our awesome site staff,” said Gerri.

Reducing waste is just one of Z’s sustainability initiatives at its retail outlets. It’s also installing LED lighting across the network, reducing water use by recycling water in its carwashes, and implementing energy efficient equipment in-store.


Editor’s Note

Z reckons recycling is especially important at this time of year, as New Zealanders prepare to dispose of the mountains of bottles, boxes and wrapping paper they’re inevitably left with on Boxing Day.

Z Retail Sustainability Manager Gerri Ward says New Zealanders can learn a lot from the success of Waste Warriors like Colin and the Z Belfast team.

Here are some waste-saving tips for every New Zealander to think about on Boxing Day:

Who remembers minding (or even being aware!) as a kid when your present was wrapped in re-used paper? The best way to reduce waste is to avoid it altogether! Wrap packages in gift bags that can be re-used several times.

  • Take a minute to separate all of the packaging you end up with before throwing it in the recycling bin – it’ll mean it does actually get recycled when it gets to the processing plant. Foil and polystyrene are particularly nasty environmental baddies – both in their production and disposal, so better to avoid having them there in the first place!
  • New Zealanders throw out a staggering 60kg per person of food waste a year. Get a bokashi bin or composting bin for the inevitable Christmas waste. You can also donate leftover food to organisations such as the City Mission in Christchurch, or Kaibosh in Wellington.

“Christmas and all its trappings can be both a special and stressful time for Kiwis – we can all take a second to think about the environmental impact of what we’re left with at the end of the day, and how we can do our bit to reduce it,” Gerri says.