Paper chasers

Last updated 05:00 18/11/2012

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Benefits are brought to everyone when communities look after their waste.

National Recycling Week ends tomorrow and has given communities around New Zealand a chance to review their habits - in homes, schools and workplaces.

Picton School is one of 28 in Marlborough involved in a Paper4trees scheme. It is also an Enviroschool, a programme focusing on the wellbeing of the whole school, community and eco-system.

"We have been collecting and recycling newspapers . . . and not just from the school community, but from the wider community, too," assistant principal Helen Boudier says.

Paper4trees is managed by the Environmental Education for Resource Sustainability Trust, a non-profit organisation that relies on sponsors in each region it operates. Participating schools and preschools are issued with 30-litre plastic recycling bins for collecting used paper and cardboard. For every eight bins (2 cubic metres) filled for recycling, the school receives a young native tree.

Quantities of paper collected by Picton School are publicly recorded in the school newsletter, Helen says. To date, 293 bins have been filled, earning the school 11 native trees.

"We are looking at enhancing the [school] grounds, making a landscape to attract native birds and creating shade areas."

The programme also raises pupils' awareness about the need to look after the environment, she says. "And it's great for the children to lead. Older children lead and the younger children pick up good habits; we want caring for the environment to be a lifelong commitment."

A Paper4Trees sponsor in Marlborough is Waste Services Marlborough and its business development general manager Darren Aldridge set up a recycling station at the school.

Darren and Waste Services Marlborough director Patrick North say the Paper4Trees scheme is a good way of educating children about looking after the environment.

When Waste Services Marlborough started 10 or 12 years ago, little of the rubbish it was contracted to collect was ever sorted for recycling, Patrick says. Companies just wanted to be rid of their rubbish.

"As the community and the world in general is becoming more green, recycling is more prevalent."

In 2012, Waste Services Marlborough employs 35 people.

Four of these employees hand-sort and divide recyclable waste that is sent to separate markets: cardboard, paper, different coloured glass bottles and different densities of plastics bottles and containers.

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- The Marlborough Express

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