Millions of dollars worth of unwanted office items and end of line products end up in New Zealand landfills every year.
But an Auckland charity is turning that around by working with businesses to redirect their waste and repurpose unwanted items, helping hundreds of community groups in the process.
With support from the Waste Minimisation Innovation Fund (WMIF), All Heart NZ has been able to save more than 2,389 tonnes of materials from landfill. More than $6 million worth of goods have been donated to 300+ communities in the past few years.
“80% of waste in Auckland landfills is actually from the commercial sector, not households. Organisations like All Heart NZ are helping make it easy to reduce waste while meeting the needs of the local community,” says Councillor Richard Hills, chair of Auckland Council’s Environment and Climate Change committee.
"They are employing people, upskilling local volunteers, and supporting more communities, all while getting us a step closer to zero waste."
National Director Joe Youssef started the charity in 2016 after seeing a room full of unwanted office goods at a friend’s business.
Since then All Heart NZ has grown from its North Shore base. They set up the South Auckland hub last year, enabling them to increase the amount of materials repurposed back into the community.
“It’s about creating a circular economy solution. The more we can stop from ending up in landfill, the less negative impact we are having on our environment,” says Joe.
“But it isn’t just about that. It is also about helping community groups, schools, churches, and not-for-profits, allowing them to free up funds to invest more in the projects that help our society.”
Businesses are encouraged to think about materials they could donate. All Heart makes it easy for places to pass along items. A small thing like a box of diaries can make a big difference to a local school. Tangaroa College students, in Ōtara, are using donated notebooks for personal reflection, short term goal setting, and reminders of important school dates. The students of Wiri’s On Demand Logistics are using donated diaries to help them achieve certifications in truck, forklift, and elevated work platform licences.
But it isn’t just about diaries and notebooks. Auckland Transport have partnered with All Heart for all unwanted office material to be redirected to community groups. The most recent cleanout saw 100 per cent of redundant items, weighing over 15 tonnes, repurposed for community group needs.
All Heart is on a mission to reduce waste before it ever gets produced, sharing that “At All Heart NZ, we have begun to grow our service to address not only where items end up after use, but how and why they were created in the first place. We believe that improving the ways we both source and dispose of corporate goods can positively impact our planet and the quality of life of the people who help produce, reuse and dispose of it.”
Joe encourages other groups to apply for Auckland Council WMIF funding, too.
“We want to see more unwanted corporate items redirected to where they are needed. Not only does it help community groups, it makes a real impact in reducing waste here in Aotearoa.”
Have you got a great zero-waste idea?
The Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund brings ideas to life and supports our target of zero waste to landfill by 2040.
WMIF funds projects from businesses, local iwi, education and community groups that will minimise waste. Learn more about when and how to apply on the council website.