The children at Eastern Suburbs Preschool in Rotorua are diverting non-recyclable yoghurt pouches from landfill on behalf of the community as part of a recycling programme.
The programme is operated by Fonterra and recycling pioneers TerraCycle.
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 and Win competition.
Once the yoghurt pouches are collected, Eastern Suburbs Preschool packs and sends them to TerraCycle, which shreds, cleans and melts them down into raw materials to create garden beds, park benches and playgrounds.
Additionally, for each kilogram of yoghurt pouch waste sent to TerraCycle, Eastern Suburbs Preschool earns $1 as a donation.
Wendy Clarke from Eastern Suburbs Preschool says the children decided to join the programme after conducting a waste audit of the children's lunchboxes to see how they could reduce waste.
"Over two weeks we inspected what the children's lunchbox waste included and found that empty yoghurt pouches were a regular item.
"We've started promoting our recycling work to the preschool families and are happy for members of the local community to bring their empty yoghurt pouches to us for recycling."
Locals can help Eastern Suburbs Preschool win the upcycled prizes by dropping all brands of used yoghurt pouches to the preschool for recycling, while those interested in recycling their 'non-recyclable' waste, including oral care waste, coffee capsules and plastic food storage waste, can go to the TerraCycle website.
TerraCycle Australia and New Zealand general manager Jean Bailliard says they are inspired by the commitment of New Zealand schools to recycling, and by their hard work in raising awareness about waste and sustainability.
TerraCycle operates several free recycling programmes that help New Zealanders recycle hard-to-recycle waste, such as coffee capsules, toothbrushes and yoghurt pouches.