Jake Hoffart has been passionate about the environment and recycling as long as he can remember.
The 19-year-old is in his third year of a four-year bachelor of management studies degree, majoring in finance, at the University of Waikato.
But the jury was still out on his chosen career, possibly becoming an entrepreneur or working in a strategic management role, he said.
Part way through a year-long cadetship at the Port of Tauranga, Jake's career options are wide open.
"It's a golden job," he said.
But there is no doubt where his true passions lie.
The son of Marty Hoffart, chairman of a trust which runs the Paper4Trees programme,
has been an enthusiastic recycler and environmental champion since a wee lad.
Jake is also a member of Tauranga City Council's youth advisory group, which provides feedback to the council on a raft of topics, including environmental issues
"Looking after the environment has really been a passion of mine for as long as I can remember," he said.
In fact, it touches every aspect of his life and sparked him to try and persuade council and central government officials to reinstate a "cash for beverage containers" deposit scheme.
The scheme would provide a cash incentive for people to bring back their empty bottles with a refund of 10c or so per bottle which would lift recycling rates, he said.
Jake said you did not need to look far to see discarded rubbish, particularly bottles on grass berms, roadways and tossed in sand dunes which often ended up in the sea.
When he headed into the sea to surf or go spearfishing he often returned to shore with his catch bag or his wetsuit stuffed full of rubbish, he said.
Jake's keen to hold a one-off public awareness day for local residents to showcase how the cash for beverage containers deposit scheme works.
Council was supportive of the scheme being introduced it just needed central government and the beverage industry to come on board to get it off the ground, he said.
It's an initiative which would help divert thousands of tonnes of waste from landfills, save millions in disposal costs and could create thousands of jobs, he said.
Jake said after 20 years of voluntary measures, New Zealand's beverage container recycling rates remained low, estimated at less than 40 per cent.
Whereas in some countries it was high as 85 to 90 per cent, he said.
Jake said this scheme would help double recycling rates as the cash people received on their returns would be a strong incentive to do so.
The scheme would have huge benefits for the Bay, and the outcry over the cancellation of the kerbside glass collection showed the community was ready for it, he said.
Benefits of the containers deposit scheme and how it works:
- The government declares beverage containers a priority product and sets an 85 per cent recovery target.
- A managing agency is set up by the beverage industry and other stakeholders to help co-ordinate the flow of materials and funds through the system.
- At least 79 per cent of all beverage containers could be recovered, or more than 45,000 extra tonnes.
- Bottles will be refunded at 10c each.
- Reduces costs to council and ratepayers through kerbside recycling and litter control costs.
- Potential refuge collections savings to NZ ratepayers of between $26m to $40m a year.
Source: Envision NZ