Bay waste team takes Womad Beyond the Bin

Rubbish sorting at the Gourmet Night Markets. From left: volunteer Vanessa Taikato, market director Kim Renshaw, and waste manager Kate Percy. Photo/Andrew Warner
Rubbish sorting at the Gourmet Night Markets. From left: volunteer Vanessa Taikato, market director Kim Renshaw, and waste manager Kate Percy. Photo/Andrew Warner

A relatively new Bay organisation is taking its passion for waste management to the world, or the World of Music, Arts and Dance Festival in New Plymouth at least.

Beyond the Bin is a social enterprise that grew from Kim Renshaw's work at Mount Maunganui's zero-waste Gourmet Night Market, combined with the talents of equally passionate waste manager Sam Gray.

"Last year at Womad was really when we realised that we wanted to create Beyond the Bin," Kim says.

"That was when we realised that we were a really good team and that there was definitely a need for what we did. We wanted to be able to do that for other events as well."

Beyond the Bin will manage the entire waste process at Womad next month, with the largest of the volunteer teams. Kim says they still need about 50 more volunteers to make up the 140-strong team.

"I'd love to see some more Bay of Plenty locals come down. The skills that people learn in volunteering you can apply to anything in life as well. They're all crosstransferable," she says.

Positions range from supervising bins to working with vendors, through to picking up litter and sorting it.

Kim says they've taken on the ground crew responsibilities at Womad this year, which includes litter-picking, as well as managing the recycling and waste at the neighbouring campsite.

There are about 25 Bay locals volunteering so far. "It's such a cool event and it so fits with Bay of Plenty because it's cruisy. It's a laid-back event. It's super-duper fun, and it's my favourite event I've ever been to," organisations and provide the full service of coming on-site, running the waste, building volunteer teams, doing education with volunteers and running that whole process of waste at events," Kim says, which is what the team will do at Womad.

The other side of Beyond the Bin is focused on educating event organisers to manage their waste system themselves.

"We have a four-hour workshop where event organisers can come in and spend time with us in a group environment and we take them through the whole process of why we're doing it, how we can leverage opportunities, the funding that's available to support this initiative [and] how it works locally in your area... it's about understanding where our waste goes and why we're trying to minimise it."

Kim says the team has worked with many waste service providers who say up to 95 per cent of event recycling collected is contaminated, so it ends up in landfill without organisers' knowledge. This is what Beyond the Bin works to minimise.

"The whole purpose of Beyond the Bin was to optimise, not only recycling, but to help give these guys the skills that we've learnt through the work we've done at Gourmet Night Market and other events, to be able to share that knowledge."

She says the workshops are about how the waste industry fits into events and how to minimise contamination.

Kim says there are plans for Beyond the Bin to go into two other areas in New Zealand later this year, managing waste at three large-scale events. Even the Chiefs rugby team has benefited from Beyond the Bin's services.

"I know it sounds a bit weird, but they make all of their plates on-site, [using] disposable stuff, so they changed all of that to compost and then we put some systems in place," im says. Just last weekend Beyond the Bin worked at the women's triathlon in Mount Maunganui, an event in Whakatane and Auckland's Splore music festival.

"It feels like the Bay is the hub for zero-waste at the moment, but it's catching on and I think it's going to be really exciting," Kim says.

"It's super-exciting because I know that it's making an impact on other event organisers.

WHAT IS WOMAD?
World of Music, Arts and Dance is an internationally established festival, which brings together artists from across the globe. Its central aim is to celebrate the world's many forms of music, arts and dance. The Kiwi iteration is in New Plymouth from March 18 to 20.

- Bay News

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