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Meet waste champion Anna Harrison

Published: 18 May 2017
  • Zero Waste Zone facilitator Anna Harrison.

Within the Waitākere Transfer Station is the Zero Waste Zone– a fun, hands-on learning centre where you can learn about waste, where it goes, and how we can all work together to reduce waste to landfill.

OurAuckland caught up with Anna, one of the Zero Waste Zone facilitators, to find out more.

Anna, how did you get started working in waste?

I wanted a change after having kids and knew it had to be something related to being an environmentalist. I volunteered with different west Auckland environmental and community groups and then got the job as a Waste Minimisation Educator.

What’s the Zero Waste Zone all about?

The Zero Waste Zone is a teaching space at the Waitākere Transfer Station but it's much more than that too. Since it has been renovated and the garden created, it is a model of the cool and funky things can be done with waste, and visitors are inspired as much by that as by what we tell them.

What happens during a Zero Waste Zone visit?

We tailor our sessions to suit the age and interest of the groups, but generally we take them through the problems with human produced waste, and some ideas and solutions for minimising the waste we create.

We do this in a hands-on way with lots of games and movement, especially for younger groups. We usually do a tour of the transfer station to give them an idea of the scale of waste being sent to landfills, but also the different materials that can be diverted from landfill and sold, reused or recycled.

A highlight for adult groups is The Recycle Shop run by the McLaren Park Henderson South (MPHS) Community Trust. We also offer a Makespace session which is where groups can make something beautiful, useful, or creative out of (clean) rubbish. 

What do you think is the most surprising thing people learn during their visit?

Most people are shocked that the stuff they put in their rubbish bins or bags every week is not sorted and recycled and that it doesn't rot down and disappear in a landfill.

They really get that there is no such thing as 'away'.

What’s one easy way to reduce waste people often don’t think of?

Don't buy it in the first place! We are such terrible over-consumers, and we're bombarded with so much advertising, and often if you stop and think you probably don't need the latest kitchen gadget or new toy that will break or be outdated in a few months.

Buy less, buy second-hand, buy quality if you can, or borrow it from a friend to see if you will really use it.  

Book your visit to the Zero Waste Zone

Want to learn more? Email Wastewise Schools  to book a visit for your community group, school or early childhood centre.

Visits can be booked for Monday to Friday, between 9.30am and 12.30pm.

Find out more at Zero Waste Zone.