13/03/2020 - Sustainability news
Waste starts with us and ends with us. Not only do we pay to dispose of our rubbish, hidden costs come from the impact on our environment, cleaning up rubbish from our rivers and ocean, dealing with air pollution, climate change and the impact on communities if waste is not dealt with responsibly.
Each year the average kiwi sends over 700kgs of household waste to landfill. This puts us in the top 10 list of countries for the most amount of waste generated per person in the world.
We know we can do better. In fact, of all the waste that’s sent to landfill in NZ each year 75% could be reused, recycled or composted.
At Z we’ve committed to reducing waste, to do more with less and to take the full environmental cost of our activities into account in our business. This is most apparent on our retail sites with an annual Waste Warriors competition being run to highlight the top recyclers in the country. Recycling has become BAU for many people and with the largest public recycling scheme on offer through Z’s retail stations we wanted to shift the focus from ‘how much’ to ‘what more’ and focus on sharing top tips for reducing waste with our network of staff, customers and suppliers.
The competition ran from October to November 2019 with 81 sites engaged. Judging completed in January and the 2019 Waste Watch champions are Z Highbrook! The team at Z Highbrook diverted 75% of their waste from landfill through composting and recycling. To engage their staff they created a video highlighting many of the ongoing activities and new opportunities for waste reduction on site. As staff member Jesla points out “Simply asking the customer if they would like a receipt saves paper, which saves trees from being cut down, which helps the quality of our air and environment” as we say at Z – “Giant Strides Start With Small Steps”
Many of these small steps get passed by or forgotten, however the competition is a time to celebrate those at Z and within our communities who go above and beyond to reduce their waste footprint. For example, the team at Z Inglewood who collaborates with a local lady who turns empty milk bottles into lunch boxes for school kids, or the team at Z Picton who, frustrated at the lack of industrial composting facilities available in the area, collect our used Z Espress compostable coffee cups and send them over to Nelson with a team member travelling that way for work.
Z’s Sustainability Champion Camilla Read says: “The passion some of our site staff have for waste reduction is infectious. Their drive to reduce waste on site has the ability to influence not just other staff members but their family and friends as well. Waste is ultimately everyone's problem and we can all be at the heart of the solution by working together, learning from others and sharing ideas and opportunities.”
Camilla says: “There is still a huge challenge with waste management constraints on a national scale. We’re committed to continue to form partnerships to reduce the creation of waste products, for example with our Z Espress KeepCups, and to work with our suppliers to find solutions for problem wastes such as plastics” This year, Z has signed up to the NZ Plastics Packaging Declaration and will be offering customers a solution for recycling lubricant oil bottles in partnership with other major lubricant brands.
During the waste watch focus in October and November the Z network recycled 196 tonnes of waste (about the same weight as 16 garbage trucks) and sent over 25 tonnes of food waste away to compost facilities (that’s equivalent to 113,000 pies!!)
Congratulations to all the sites, customers and suppliers working with us to reduce waste every day. Check out the infographic below for just some of the stories that staff have shared.