In my backyard – An interview with Paul Ryan (Sift competition winner)

Paul Ryan with fellow competition winner Jo Wynne

Paul Ryan with fellow competition winner Jo Wynne

We will interview people who work directly in an environmental field or in their role help others to achieve environmental goals (like Sift) or are members of the public who live sustainably or are interested in living more sustainably for posts on Green Collar Jobs.

Paul Ryan was the winner of the most sustainable/commercial category from our recent Styrofoam Meat & Vege Tray Recycling Competition. We picked him for the first Q & A. Once technical issues have been sorted we will also post a video version onto our You Tube channel (more details to come).

1. How do you live sustainably in your life? Since the mid 1960’s we have recycled our waste. It helps to have a large section so you can compost – we didn’t have bins like we do today. It is just part of our lives to live more consciously. It is great to have the new bin system from the Selwyn District Council – this is an opportunity to recycle more and be more aware of our waste.  When I need to remove a lot of waste I go to Parkhouse [Eco Depot] in Christchurch as I feel they are more organised than the local refuse centre and can help me better with what I do when I get there…they are just more organised.  We are also living in a newer house that we built which has extra insulation so we can be more energy efficient.

2.What do you think is the biggest environmental issue we need to deal with in Christchurch/New Zealand? Better, more organised local refuse station would help people to recycle and remove their waste. More information is needed for the community. The Selwyn District Council and Christchurch City Council need to look at what goes into their landfills and start looking at how to better reuse those resources that end up in landfill – they need to look at low cost technology options from around the world, which could become commercially viable. Polystyrene trays is a good example of a waste that could be better recovered without going to landfill just by investigating other options for its recovery like my idea to mould it into insulation.

3.What makes you smile? Other people who are happy.

4. What is your biggest pet peeve? Our roads. Our roading infastructure is not good enough. We need better public transport (like using Rolleston and Rangiora as hubs for shuttles or trains) and need to be faster at investigating the needs of the community and developing solutions to their problems. If there is better transport, there will be more people finding it easier to get around, which will lead to better services and a better community. Park and ride would be a great option for Rolleston and Rangiora.

5. What is your favourite colour and why? Blue-grey. Because it is a great foundation colour and it can interact well with all the other colours.

6. Do you have a favourite place in the world and why? In my backyard – most of New Zealand would be my answer. It is so special and unique. We need to enjoy it and cherish it not spoil it.

7. What’s your connection to Sift? I am member of the public interested and sustainability and won the Sift Styrofoam Meat & Vege tray recycling competition along with Jo Wynne. I saw the advert in the paper and know that Styrofoam is a problem that needs a solution.

8. Do you remember your favourite teacher and why? I had a music teacher who taught me brass instruments. He could see I had the capabilities to produce good music and spent time with me encouraging and helping me to learn. I was in the NZ Army Band and could play brass instruments like the trumpet and trombone.

9. What do you want to leave behind? Sustainability – sound families and sound living opportunities.

10. What do you think the future will bring? The magic as long as you can control it.

11. Who is someone you really admire and why? Mr Gorbachev. He had the burden of several Soviet states on his shoulders, still able to talk to the West and make concessions. He was a good statesmen. Ghandi was also a phenomenal leader. At the moment there is no real clear leader and there are many great leaders in today’s world who are not recognised.

12. What is happening outside your window right now? It is raining…lovely spring rain! All the colours are coming back which is great.

13. What is your favourite breakfast? My homemade muesli and All Bran.

14. What is the best piece of advice you can give us? Need to promote yourselves more. The more people you can reach and help the better the communication on environmental issues within the community will become. It takes time and energy but engage with the community.


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