Baled Plastic Milk Bottles Waiting for processing at Mastagard
This week’s Green Collar Job Q&A is with Angus Winstone, Sales Manager for Mastagard here in Christchurch. Mastagard are one of the key industry players here in Canterbury for waste collection and recycling. They collect from around Canterbury, Christchurch and the West Coast and have a focus on recycling as much as possible. They work with SIFT fund recipient Agpac recycling the baleage wrap and other agricultural plastics that Agpac collects from around Canterbury farms. SIFT recently visited Mastagard to check out what they do and we will be posting about that soon. In the meantime here are Angus’s answers:
1. What do you do to live more sustainably (with a low impact) in your life?
Thats a hard one, sustainable living ….. I do the normal recycling, but I have the added advantage of being able to bring things to work to be recycled.
2. How do you live more sustainably at work?
As a recycling company it easy to recycle, slightly cheating! We recycle just about everything in the office. We always turn off our computers at night. I think when you work in an industry that is driven by recycling you don’t really think about it, as we are all trying to come up with ideas to do things more sustainably for our clients, so its just a fundamental part of our business!
3. What do you think is the biggest environmental issue we need to deal with in Christchurch/New Zealand?
The government needs to regulate or legislate the export of recyclables. As a privately funded recycling company we are competing to purchase product from buyers from overseas that are totally unregulated! If recyclables were supplied to the New Zealand recycling processors we would be able to expand and recycle new recoverables!
4. What makes you smile?
My kids playing.
5. What is your biggest pet peeve?
I don’t really have a pet peeve ….. but if I had to identify something that got me upset it would have to be the misunderstandings about plastic recycling. Plastic is a great product, it can be 100% recycled. What is not OK is the low recovery rate!
6. What is your favourite colour and why?
It should be green but I do like blue.
7. Do you have a favourite place in the world? Describe why?
Yes, Lake Tarawera in the North Island. It is a lake that I have been going to my whole life, it’s is the most unspoilt and natural place I have ever seen!
8. What’s your connection to SIFT?
We are working with SIFT on the ‘Plasback’ scheme [*with Agpac] to promote and collect all rural plastics, also they are help us get our message out to the wider market place.
9. Do you remember your favourite teacher and why they were your favourite?
My favourite teacher was probably my Physics teacher, Mr Jefferies. He used to let me electrocute myself, blow myself up …. good times!
10. What do you want to leave behind?
Good worm fodder …… no really, I want to see a recycling industry in New Zealand that works, it would be great to leave behind a robust recycling industry in New Zealand!
11. What do you think the future will bring?
Well I don’t think the hover craft cars are on the immediate future, but maybe we will all be driving hybrid cars instead.
12. Who is someone you really admire and why?
It’s so hard to answer a question like this without offending someone … so im going to say ‘My Dad’ sorry Gandhi.
13. What is happening outside your window right now?
I am eyeing up a timber yard with a whole lot of plastic that should be recycled, why?
14. What is your favourite breakfast?
Weetbix with peaches! Sorry you can’t beat it.
15. What is the best piece of advice you can give us?
I think that the New Zealand recycling industry has been confused with the New Zealand ‘Bale and Ship to China’ industry …. We need to help recyclers prosper, not help the companies that are helping the Chinese recycling industry prosper (and it is). My personal opinions may seem rather strong, but when the Mastagard plastic company is purchasing plastic from off shore and importing it to New Zealand because it is unable to source plastic locally, then something is very wrong. New Zealand is teaming with unregulated commodities brokers and greedy councils stripping the best plastics away from local New Zealand recyclers. If we want the New Zealand recycling industry to blossom, we need to make it an attractive industry to invest in.