About Z

Waste Warriors: Z’s environmental super-heroes

06/05/2015 - Sustainability news

Sheena Thomas

In just two months, Z’s “Waste Warriors” competition has diverted 191 tonnes of waste away from landfill – the equivalent of two Olympic sized swimming pools full of waste.

The annual nation-wide competition is designed to help Z’s service station teams become more aware and motivated to reuse, recycle and compost.

Leading the charge was this year’s Waste Warriors winner, Ashleigh Atkinson, and her team from Z Rangiora, who recycled 87 per cent of their waste over the course of the competition.

In second place was Z Palmerston, and Z Te Puke came in third, recycling 84 per cent and 83 per cent of their waste, respectively.

Z’s Sustainability Manager, Gerri Ward, said that when it came to sustainability, long-lasting behavioural change was what was really needed to make a difference.

“At Z we want to do the right thing by New Zealand, so we’ve made a serious commitment to moving from being part of the problem to being at the heart of solutions around sustainability.

“One of the things we’ve been focused on has been to cut the waste sent from our service stations to landfill by 70%.

“We found that there were already a few people within our retail service station network who were really taking the lead on engaging site staff to try and attain our 70% reduction goal with gusto. 

“We decided to tap into this experience across our network, and leverage our retailers and site teams’ keen sense of competition to get them into action on the ground, where it matters most,” said Gerri.

Over a two month period Z service station sites compete against each other to reduce the amount of waste they send to the landfill, each team led by a sustainability champion within the team vying to be named this year’s Waste Warrior.

This is the second year the competition has run and 54 Z stations joined in.

“A bit of healthy competition can lead to extraordinary results, and we’re so impressed and proud of the efforts of Ashleigh and the team at Z Rangiora.

“Ashleigh was so motivated that she undertook research on plastic recycling herself, and challenged the rest of the staff at Z Rangiora to find alternative uses for those things which couldn’t be recycled through the current systems,” said Gerri.

According to recycle.co.nz, about 2.5 million tonnes of waste is buried in landfills in New Zealand each year.

“Landfills take up precious space and we are running out of places to put them,” said Gerri.

Gerri said New Zealanders can learn a lot from the success of the Waste Warrior programme and the need to transform behaviours if we are going to make a real difference. 

”The massive waste reduction by Ashleigh and her team at Z Rangiora required sustainability to be at the forefront of their thinking and required them to consistently separate food waste, general waste and recycling at their site,” said Gerri.