An initiative to make Kaipara wastefree has received $163,000 funding to go towards waste minimisation education across the district, including schools and at the annual field days.
Love Kaipara, a company that inspires people to care for the environment and reduce waste will receive $133,650 from the Ministry of Environment's Waste Minimisation Fund and an additional $29,440 from the Kaipara District Council.
The company was formed last year by Kaipara resident Victoria del la Varis-Woodcock after she undertook a pilot project in 2015 in four schools and with 360 students who were taught ways to reduce different waste such as plastic, glass, tin, aluminium, and steel.
While doing a masters in politics, Ms del la Varis-Woodcock realised there was a lack of public awareness and education about waste minimisation and did research on the issue before applying for funding from the ministry and KDC.
"There was a broader lack of awareness across Kaipara about waste minimisation and I think we need to teach people that all waste, be they plastic, aluminium, or steel, comes from the Earth and so they need to be managed.
"Schools often have an environment focus such as tree planting and have vegetable gardens but now a lot of schools in Kaipara have begun waste minimisation by doing things like worm farms, composting and smart shopping," she said.
Apart from schools, she said there was also a push to make the Northland Field Days a waste-free event by 2022.
She could not say how much waste, mostly food stall packaging, was generated over the field days but said it was significant.
Wheelie bins with separate recyclables and compostables were one of the ways to achieve waste reduction at the field days, she said.
Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson made the funding announcement at the Northern Wairoa War Memorial Town Hall in Dargaville yesterday. The money will fund waste minimisation education in 36 schools across Kaipara over the next three years and will also be used to print 9000 flyers and media campaigns.
Mr Simpson said the joint funding had the potential to make a huge impact throughout Kaipara.
"We know so much of what we throw away are either reusable or recyclable and if we can minimise the waste we send to the landfill, that will have obvious environment benefits.
"We live in a fast-moving environment where we're producing more waste but at some point people will need to understand the impact non-waste minimisation can have on the environment," he said.
Kaipara mayor Greg Gent praised the initiative, saying anything that minimised waste must be encouraged.
The Waste Minimisation Fund is funded from a levy charged on waste disposed off at landfills throughout the country.