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Posts Tagged ‘environment’
Tuesday, July 5th, 2011 by Admin
Though June has rushed by, SIFT did not want to neglect the well deserved attention owed to the recent winners at the Green Ribbon Awards. Held on June 9th, the Honorable Nick Smith described the awards as “Recognizing the efforts of New Zealanders who are taking action to address environmental challenges” (Beehive Press Release).
Comprising of eleven categories, individuals as well as companies and organizations, were recognized for their contribution within an array of environmental issues. The overall supreme winner was Eco Stock Supplies. Collecting food waste previously destined for landfill, Eco Stock upcycles the waste to stock feed. It is estimated that through the 25,000 tones of food waste utilised by Eco Stock within the last year, the production of 13,625 tonnes of CO2 has been prevented. While not only preventing green-house gas emissions, Eco Stock also offers a local alternative to imported stock-feeds.
Here is the full list of categories and the respective winners – all deserving for their commitment and effort towards New Zealand sustainability.
Category 1: Protecting our Biodiversity (joint winners)
Pomona Island Charitable Trust, Kiwi (Tokoeka) Crèche (Te Anau) – For its outstanding work in creating pest free sanctuaries on Pomona and Rona Islands in Lake Manapouri, Fiordland.
and Tuhoe Putaiao Charitable Trust (Opotiki) – For its outstanding commitment to environmental protection work in the Bay of Plenty, in collaboration with the Department of Conservation, local iwi, the Regional Council and forestry operators.
Category 2: Protecting our Coasts and Oceans
Sustainable Coastlines Incorporated (New Zealand-wide) – For its outstanding commitment to improving the New Zealand coastal environment through public education, beach and coast clean ups and removing debris and rubbish that poses a risk to coastal and marine flora and fauna.
Category 3: Caring for our Water
NZ Landcare Trust (New Zealand-wide) – For their outstanding contribution to improving fresh water management across the country by engaging private land owners in environmental protection work.
Category 4: Reducing our Greenhouse Gas Emissions
Wellington City Council (Wellington) – For its 2010 Climate Change Action Plan, and demonstrating outstanding commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions in collaboration with all sectors of the community.
Category 5: Small Businesses Making a Difference
Eco Stock Supplies (Auckland) – For the development of an innovative commercial operation making a measurable difference to waste minimisation and reducing food waste.
Category 6: Community Action for the Environment: Young People
Brittany Packer (Nelson) – For her outstanding commitment to raising the profile of environmental issues, locally and internationally and demonstrating leadership for other young people.
Category 7: Community Action for the Environment: Volunteers and Not-for-profit Organisations
Mana Recovery (Porirua) – For its outstanding commitment to volunteer resource recovery services and providing a supportive environment for members of the community to learn and grow.
Category 8: Minimising our Waste
Conscious Consumers (Wellington, Auckland) – For its outstanding commitment to reducing waste and raising consumer awareness of waste issues.
Category 9: Environment in the Media
Emma Heke (Nelson) – For her outstanding contribution to environmental education through her DVD “OURS” that teaches children about conservation, sustainability and environmental care.
Category 10: Environmentally Responsible Large Organisations (joint winners)
Downer NZ (New Zealand-wide) – For its outstanding work in setting an example in environmental responsibility by implementing an environmental sustainability programme across its company operations in New Zealand.
and Meridian Energy and Department of Conservation, Project River Recovery – For their outstanding commitment to improving and protecting the unique braided river habitat around Twizel, Tekapo and Omarama in Canterbury and Otago.
Category 11: Central and Local Government Stepping Up
Kapiti Coast District Council (Paraparaumu) – For its outstanding contribution to reducing their environmental impact beyond statutory obligations and providing measurable benefits for the environment and the community of Kapiti Coast.
Supreme Winner Green Ribbon Award Winner 2011
Eco Stock Supplies (Auckland)
For the development of an innovative commercial operation making a measurable difference to waste minimisation and reducing food waste.
Congratulations to all of the winners. No doubt there were many more that entered but did not win that are working hard to create a more sustainable future for New Zealand.
Monday, May 9th, 2011 by Admin
Treated Timber Source: Lockwood.co.nz
New Zealand’s forestry industry contributes 12% of the country’s annual export earnings, making it New Zealand’s third largest industry. Within this powerful industry, there is the manufacturing of CCA treated timber. In 2005 4,215, 000 cubic metres of rough sawn timber was produced within New Zealand. We found a great report on Extended Producer Responsibility within the Timber Industry by Simon Love (2007) which is a great resource for information on Treated Timber and finding a solution and states that estimates for 2006 show that the amount of treated timber within that timber production total is 830,250 cubic metres.
Data from the Ministry for the Environment from their waste composition analysis from 2008 statistics states that for the whole country Timber makes up 11% of the total waste to landfill. An estimated 3.156 million tonnes of waste went to landfill in 2006 so that’s 347,160 tonnes of timber waste. More here.
A certain percentage of this timber to landfill is CCA Treated Timber which is an issue for all landfills and the surrounding environment.
Radiata pine is one of the world’s most widely planted plantation species and has the ability to grow to a large diameter faster than almost any other tree species. In New Zealand, both the ideal climatic and soil conditions exist for advanced radiata pine plantations, making pine New Zealand’s number one commercially grown tree species and is used for external building structures, including fences, decks, landscaping, pole houses, playground structures, marinas and walkways. However, due to a natural susceptibility to fungal decay, radiata pine must be extensively chemically treated in order for it to withstand the outdoor exposures.
Internationally, CCA treated timber has been banned or had restrictions placed on it due to the growing concern over its possible health implications for humans, and the environmental implications that can result from the chemicals leaching during landfill.
In 1997, The Department of Conservation commissioned a report on CCA treated timber within New Zealand. Written by Dr. Michael Hedley, the report explored the possible future disposal of treated timber, including controlled incineration and fully encapsulated landfill disposal. Dr. Hedley stated in the report that ‘Though these may be possibilities…while there has been little significant evidence produced within New Zealand on the effects of CCA timber landfill disposal, municipal landfills, will continue to be the most viable option for CCA timber disposal.’ Download the report.
Here are some facts on what exactly CCA treated timber is, and why internationally, jurisdictions have been placed on its use.
What is CCA treated timber?The most commonly treated timber is CCA treated, or Chromate Copper Arsenate. The chemical mixture is injected into the wood under pressure, ensuring that the wood is saturated with the chemicals.
What are the possible health effects from exposure to it? According to the United States’ EPA’s Incident Data System, exposure to treated timber can result in ‘itching, burning, rashes, neurological symptoms, and breathing problems after handling lumber; damage to nerves in feet and legs from CCA sawdust and fumes from construction; chronic rash; eye swelling from dust; headache, nausea, shakiness, and thirst from cutting timber; rashes on arms from dust; nausea and headache from drilling timber’. These side effects are linked to the exposure to high arsenic levels. Internationally, the concern for the health implications has led to the United States, Canada and the European Union banning the use of CCA-treated wood in residential and recreational settings.
Why is their concern for the environment? Currently in New Zealand, the most common disposal for CCA treated timber is straight to landfill. The concern for the environment comes from the issues of chemicals leaching from landfill into the soil. For Christchurch, CCA treated timber is to be placed in kerbside red wheelie bins – for landfill dumping.
With such prolific use of treated radiata pine within New Zealand, and landfill being the most common disposal of treated timber within New Zealand, it seems worth taking a look at international responses and the reasoning for so many countries placing jurisdictions on the use of treated timber and also to find a solution to the large amount of treated timber that goes to our landfills and affects our ecosytems and human health.
Is there a solution out there that could remove the CCA from the timber so it can be reused or a solution for recycling the timber in some way? Would the Extended Producer Responsibility programme describe in Simon Love’s research work for New Zealand. What could we do? What do we need to do to solve this waste stream issue?
We would love to know. Treated Timber is one of SIFT’s key waste streams to be solved. As such we are inviting expressions of interest to help solve this problem from anyone who thinks the have an idea, the solution, or could help set up a Producer Responsibility Program.
Wednesday, March 16th, 2011 by Admin
If you know of someone worthy of the title of Environmental Champion then consider entering them or the project into the 2011 Green Ribbon Awards through the Ministry for the Environment. There are twelve catergories and entries must be received by 5pm Friday the 15th of April.
The categories are:
- Protecting our biodiversity
- Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions
- Caring for our water
- Minimising our waste
- Improving our air quality
- Protecting our coasts and oceans
- Community action for the environment: Young People
- Community aciton for the environment: Volunteers and Not-for-Profit organisations
- Environment in the media
- Small businesses making a difference
- Environmentally responsible large businesses
- Central and local government stepping up.
Green Ribbon Awards Nomination form
Monday, January 10th, 2011 by Admin
Found this very restful yet powerful video by Jesse Rosten (via Black Eiffel) about Redwood forests of Northern California in Growing is Forever. It is a wonderfully shot video that makes you sit up and take notice – we should take notice of our trees more often! Canterbury is full of many great places to enjoy the solidity, strength and longevity of trees: Riccarton Bush, the old podocarps of Peel Forest, Hanmer Springs, Banks Peninsula (especially our favourite walk to the Sign of the Bell Bird), any of the Botanical Gardens in the Canterbury towns and any of the trees in your backyard. No doubt there are many more forested and woodland (native and exotic) places around Canterbury to enjoy.
Take a breather and watch this great video.
Growing is Forever from Jesse Rosten on Vimeo.
Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010 by Admin
Back in November there was a TedX on the Great Pacific Garbage Patch in the US organised by the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Beth Terry from Fake Plastic Fish was a speaker at that TedX conference and she has now posted the list of speakers with links to the videos including her own which is great. We have watched a few and so far our favourites are:
And these are only a handful. There are still many we have yet to watch. But, just these further the desire to create a life with less plastic. Less plastic being produced, less plastic being wasted, less plastic pollution. It is no longer right or ethical to pollute the earth and harm other species and ecosystems and waste resources as we do.
And with only a few days of Christmas it’s time to think and say “We have enough!”.
Friday, August 13th, 2010 by Admin
SIFT Vision Poster on the wall at our After 5 Drinks and Nibbles event on Tuesday
Welcome to the end of another working week. We met some potential new projects, had a bit of an After 5 drinks and nibbles event for few key people at our offices, met with current projects to get updates and generally continued to do what we do.
On the way we also found some interesting tid bits that you might be interested in perusing. Here are this week’s Friday Favourites:
- A great article here from Nick Potter on his affair with the word “sustainability” – what will be the new words? You can see more of what Nick Potter does on his website Re-Be.
- A dining room made from recycled plastic bottles that floats – a unique eating experience here.
- Another great link from the team at Re-Nest who found an article in a recent Martha Stewart Living magazine about using real peanuts for packing (definitely better than styrofoam “peanuts”).
- The latest Environmental Indicators Quarterly from the Ministry for the Environment here (pdf).
- A great little tutorial on how to make reusable sandwich bags – (no velcro, glue, and only minimal sewing) – great idea here.
- A move in the US to replace ornamental gardens with food producing gardens here.
- More disrespect for and damage to the environment – will the fine work? More here.
- The kitchen of the future – bringing the vege garden inside – more here.
- The fridge that grows food not just stores it here.
Have a great waste free weekend.
Friday, May 21st, 2010 by Admin
Congratulations to this week’s Green Collar Job Q&A person Rhys Taylor for being short listed (as national Coordinator of the Sustainable Living Education Trust), with two others, in the Environment category for the 2010 Intrepid Travel National Volunteer Awards. You can read more here – results to be announced on the 8th of June. These awards are also back by Good Magazine. Good luck Rhys.
Tuesday, April 20th, 2010 by Admin
Brenda Harkin is the National Communications Manager and the Manager of the Central & Southern Regions for the Sustainable Business Network, of which SIFT is a member. The Sustainable Business Network pomotes sustainable business practices, helps businesses to become more sustainable and provides a forum for people to talk about sustainble business practices, tools and ideas. You can find out more about what they do here and become a member here. The Sustainable Business Network is a valuable organisation for a sustainable future for New Zealand. Here are Brenda’s answers to our Green Collar Job questions:
1. What do you do to live more sustainably (with a low impact) in your life?
I endeavour to incorporate sustainable living choices in all areas of my life; from choosing eco-friendly cleaning products, to growing organic vegetables with my homemade compost. During recent home renovations, I researched sustainable options with regards to hot water heating, showerheads, and insulation and so on. We have two children so we spend time educating them around sustainability and helping them to understand the potential positive and negative impacts our choices have on our environment.
2. How do you live more sustainably at work?
The whole purpose of the Sustainable Business Network, the organisation I’m employed by, is to help businesses to succeed through sustainability. Inherently, everything I do links back to this purpose. On a more personal level, SBN staff endeavour to ‘walk the talk’ at every turn and this manifests itself in managing work/life balance, office purchasing decisions, advancing sustainable action, and so on.
3. What do you think is the biggest environmental issue we need to deal with in Christchurch/New Zealand?
The biggest challenge we face around sustainability is apathy. Inaction and disinterest are the environment’s largest threat.
4. What makes you smile?
The funny things my children say in complete innocence and at top volume, for example: ‘Mum, why does that woman’s hair look like a lion’s mane?’…oh dear!
5. What is your biggest pet peeve?
People who complain about the world or their lives, but fail to take a stand and instigate the action necessary to facilitate change. Paraphrasing Mahatma Gandhi, ‘If you want to see the change, you have to be the change.’
6. What is your favourite colour and why?
Actually, its green…and surprisingly, it doesn’t relate to any green affiliations; I just like the colour!
7. Do you have a favourite place in the world? Describe why?
In New Zealand, it would have to be Matapouri Beach in Northland; one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever had the pleasure of visiting. My partner’s family is from Whangarei so we usually spend Christmas holidays there. If I’m thinking further afield, then I would have to say that I love returning to my hometown of Dublin, Ireland. There’s just something special about the view of Dublin Bay as you descend into the airport that makes me feel like I’ve come home. And as the youngest of seven siblings, it’s marvellous to spend time with my extended family as well.
8. What’s your connection to Sift?
One aspect of my role with the Sustainable Business Network is Southern Regional Manager. Sift is one of SBN’s members based in the Southern Region.
9. Do you remember your favourite teacher and why they were your favourite?
My favourite teacher was when I was about eight years old – her name was Miss Bergin. She wasn’t long out of teaching college from memory and she was just so LOVELY; she still had a wonderful enthusiasm which some teachers unfortunately lose over time. Added to this was the fact that since I attended a Catholic Girls School, a reasonable portion of my teachers were strict nuns!
10. What do you want to leave behind?
A life well-lived with no regrets.
11. What do you think the future will bring?
I’m an optimist by nature so I have complete faith that the human race will make the necessary changes to ensure that the world will amend its flawed ways. There is a huge groundswell evident at present and it’s only a matter of time before we reach critical mass. Then, the people who care about sustainability will outnumber those who don’t and positive change is inevitable.
12. Who is someone you really admire and why?
I really admire anyone who is willing to take a stand against wrongful activities, whether that’s where environmental issues or human rights are being concerned. As a pacifist, I don’t support violent protest, but believe that the way to instigate change is to engage in meaningful dialogue with the affected parties and present reasoned arguments in an undeniably convincing manner.
13. What is happening outside your window right now?
The sun is shining and, since its school holidays, there are lots of children around town laughing and having fun. Oh to be young and free again…
14. What is your favourite breakfast?
Despite being Irish and hating the taste of it upon my initial arrival in NZ, I’m proud to say that I’m now a ‘two slices of toast with marmite’ aficionado. Now that’s what I call black gold…
15. What is the best piece of advice you can give us?
Take a stand, embrace sustainability at home, at work and in your community, leave apathy behind…the rewards you’ll reap (environmental, social and economic) will far outweigh the efforts expended along the way.
Thanks Brenda for your wonderful, meaningful and thought provoking answers. We look forward to continuing our relationship with you into the future.
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