Hikurangi pupils have become forerunners of a new recycling scheme in Whangārei.
The pilot project by the Whangārei District Council has brought new blue recycling bins for glass into Hikurangi School, and pupils were excited to help to improve the recycling system.
"Having the glass in separate bins will make it easier for rubbish collectors to sort through the recycling," Brennan Bishop, Year 8, explained.
The school has been trialling the bins for the past week and Brennan confirmed that students made sure everything is recycled correctly. The new blue bins are an addition to the regular red ones and go out for collection the same day.
Brennan's school mate, Henry Kiwara-Greig from Year 7, explained that not all glass would go into the blue bins:
"You don't put lightbulbs in the bin because they have mercury in them and that melts at a different temperature than glass.
"You also put broken glass in the rubbish, so the collectors don't cut their hands."
Whangārei District Council launched the new scheme with 500 of the blue bins in Hikurangi households at the start of the month.
Council's solid waste engineer, David Lindsay, said Whangārei's glass had always been in high demand by recyclers in Auckland because collectors sort it at the kerb and deliver it ready to process.
"That means there is a very strong upside to using the new two-bin system and keeping our sorters out on the road, doing a great job, and helping us deliver some of the best glass for recycling in the country," Lindsay said.
Hikurangi is an Enviroschool, meaning sustainability and awareness for nature is important for the students.
About 25 of the pupils are part of the school's eco-warrior group who initiate clean-ups in the community, look after the local waterways and tend the school's vegetable garden.
"Our kids are doing things like recycling by habit now. This attitudinal change is hard to implement," principal Bruce Crawford said.
"The eco-warriors have made an incremental impact here."
The eco-warriors are also active outside of school hours, bringing awareness into the community and their families.
Caelan Bradley, Year 7, said the students explained to their parents at home how the new recycling scheme worked.
"I usually walk down our street and make sure everything is put into the right bin."
By November, the entire district will be equipped with the blue glass bins.