The kids at Rainbow Cottage preschool in Whangamata are diverting non-recyclable yoghurt pouches from landfill on behalf of the community as part of a recycling programme operated by Fonterra.
In doing so, the preschool has the chance to win a pack of lunch bags and pencil cases made from upcycled yoghurt pouches, in a national recycling competition called the Fonterra Snap, Recycle & Win competition.
Rainbow Cottage is also collecting oral care waste and plastic food storage waste to recycle in two other recycling programmes operated by Colgate and Glad.
Once the yoghurt pouch and oral care waste is collected, Rainbow Cottage packs and sends them to TerraCycle, who shreds, cleans and melts them down into raw materials to create garden beds, park benches and playgrounds.
TerraCycle specialises in converting traditionally non-recyclable waste – such as toothbrushes, coffee capsules and cigarette butts – into sustainable raw materials to be used in manufacturing.
Additionally, for each kilogram of yoghurt pouch waste sent to TerraCycle, Rainbow Cottage earns $1 as a donation, plus $0.02 per unit of oral care waste and plastic food storage waste.
Natalie Keogh from Rainbow Cottage said that Fonterra's free recycling programmes helped educate the children about recycling.
"We're working to become a zero waste centre," Keogh said. "These programmes are perfect to both guide our tamariki ma to becoming kaitiaki (guardians) for the land and to achieve our zero waste goal."
Locals can help Rainbow Cottage win the upcycled prizes by dropping all brands of used yoghurt pouches to the preschool for recycling, while those interested in recycling their oral care waste, yoghurt pouches or plastic food storage waste are encouraged to visit www.terracycle.co.nz.
"We're really inspired by the commitment of New Zealand schools to recycling, and by their hard work in raising awareness about waste and sustainability," said Jean Bailliard, general manager of TerraCycle Australia & New Zealand.
TerraCycle operates several free recycling programmes that help New Zealanders recycle hard-to-recycle waste – such as coffee capsules, toothbrushes and yoghurt pouches – free-of-charge.
To date, across 21 countries, TerraCycle has diverted 4 billion pieces of waste from landfill and incineration, and has raised US$21 million for schools and non-profit organisations worldwide.
To learn more about TerraCycle's free recycling programmes, visit www.terracycle.co.nz/brigades.