Within this section…
Waste minimisation is about preventing waste at source through the efficient use of raw materials, energy and water. Waste minimisation involves action on several fronts:
Many reductions in waste can be achieved through better housekeeping. It is essential that employees are aware of the issues surrounding waste and are motivated and trained to prevent it.
A systematic approach to measurement and control highlights deficiencies and problems, enables targets to be set and maintains levels of efficiency.
Investment in new technology can improve productivity and reduce waste generation, leading to immediate paybacks.
The Northland Regional Council has in place a Council-wide waste minimisation strategy. The waste minimisation committee dissipated with the move to the new Water Street office and has not yet been re-established but it has been highlighted as a priority for the next 2 years. The aim of this team is to promote recycling within the Council and to encourage waste minimisation throughout the organisation.
The Council approved budget for the 2006-07 financial year to employ a Cleaner production/Pollution prevention Officer for the Northland Region. This position will be filled towards the end of 2006. Their key role will be to provide information and guidance to industry on cleaner production methods and pollution prevention initiatives. It is envisaged that this person will re-establish the waste minimisation committee and the carry out the audit discussed below.
The Council has had a recycling system established for over 4 years which includes recycling bins in the lunchroom and outside barbeque area and paper recycling bins in photocopier rooms and in peoples work areas. All staff take an active role in recycling paper, cardboard, all types of glass, aluminium cans, plastic bottles, batteries, toner cartridges and food scraps.
A comprehensive audit of the Councils business operations and offices has not yet been carried out due to time constraints but it is planned to happen in the near future.
The audit will look at:
- Ancillary materials-materials used for cleaning and maintenance.
- Consumable materials- materials used for offices paper, toner cartridges, and other consumables.
- Packaging materials used to package and transport goods.
- Energy-power consumption and fuel usage.
- Water usage.
- Solid waste.
- The costs of removing the skip bin, drums and other wastes by waste management contractors.
- Quantifying how much money is spent on each of the resources listed.