From empty chocolate and chip packets to polystyrene food trays, we all know there are some things we just cannot recycle.
But Suburban School students keen to find out more took a trip to Innovative Waste Kaikoura last week and ended up with some more specific information to take home and educate their parents and peers with.
The group of 26 children plus parents and teachers had great fun donning gloves and getting stuck in to a big black bag full of rubbish. Upon ripping into it, they were surprised to find a whole lot of recycling which would have ended up in the landfill had it not been for their intervention – from glass and plastic bottles to cardboard and paper. The bag was from the town bins, which are emptied each morning.
The children managed to condense the entire bag down to next to nothing and this has led to some discussion amongst IWK management that the town bins' bags could be sorted before going to landfill. Currently they are simply picked up and disposed of, but as they are emptied each day there is likely to be plenty of clean recyclables.
IWK manager Robbie Roche said he was really impressed with the children's passion for environmental issues.
The more education he could pass on about keeping recycling and contaminants out of the landfill, the better for the town, both environmentally and financially.
"The longer we can keep organic matter and other contaminants out of the landfill, the less leachate we will get," he said. "And the same goes for recycling – if the product is kept free from organics, 90 per cent or more could be recycled. And then of course we have a product we can sell."
It was to the town's advantage to prolong the life of the landfill, he said.