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New van to help community move step closer to zero-waste goal

Published: 19 November 2018
  • ME Family Services' CEO Peter Sykes and Regeneration Facilitator Justine Skilling.
  • ME Family Services' Waste minimisation facilitator Koia Teinakore and Grace Harwood showing off some of their handy work in the Regeneration Zone. 
  • The Resource Recovery room at ME Family Services where goods are redistributed through trade or exchange.
  • Tom Wichman also helps out at ME Family Services' Regeneration Zone where he shares his knowledge in gardening, particularly on how to create eco-friendly hydroponic gardens using recycled building supplies.

The redistribution of a community’s resources just got a bit easier thanks to Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board empowering a local organisation with their resource recovery service.

The board has approved $20,000 for ME Family Services to buy an amazing new van, which will be used to pick up larger items people don’t need any more such as fridges and couches, and then redistribute these in the community.

Justine Skilling, the Regeneration Facilitator at ME Family Services, says the van will enable her organisation to move Māngere a step closer to the big vision of becoming zero-waste.

“The purpose is for Māngere to have the capacity to trade and exchange re-useable goods. In the process, we can reduce illegal dumping and reduce waste to landfill which contributes to our vision of a zero-waste Māngere where waste is valued as a resource and utilised by the community.”

ME Family Services currently has a partnership with Auckland International Airport to create a social trade with lost property that has been left by tourists and ME Family Services is exploring the potential to extend this service to other businesses and organisations around Māngere/ Ōtāhuhu.

“We were hiring a truck every week so we could see there was potential to be doing a lot more,” Justine says.

“So we’ve become a conduit for people to bring stuff and for us to pass it on and the vehicle enables us to do even more.”

ME Family Services CEO Peter Sykes says the van forms just one part of what is a wider programme which includes turning the backyard behind the organisation’s early childhood centre into a Regeneration Zone.

The area now has a community garden and makerspace which is providing opportunities for community learning about gardening and sustainability.

“What we’re trying to do is a local place-based work where we can say to the community that we can connect people up to different resources and skills,” he says.

Māngere-Ōtāhuhu Local Board Chair Lemauga Lydia Sosene says it's pleasing to see what local organisations are able to achieve with the help of the local board.

“The local board has made protecting the natural environment one of its top priorities this year. And initiatives like this one are particularly important as it will also help to combat the issue of illegal dumping.”

Read more:

Manukau Waste