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NZAC Recycling News

example of book with compostable wrap for posting

Here at the NZAC’s National Office, we are keen to bring in changes to help lessen our environmental impact and encourage greater recycling opportunities.

The main barrier (apart from added cost) has actually been sourcing the right products and finding companies that can provide for our needs. This is an ongoing and evolving process. As better options become available we will switch to those where possible.

Initially, I think the first two items pushed for were to change our flow-wrap materials and promote the use of environmentally friendly cleaning products to be used in our huts. The following is where we are at now and in the 2020 New Year you will notice other changes coming through. This is just a beginning as once you change one way of doing things, you soon discover there is still so much more that can be done.

Suggestions and names of enviro-product suppliers are always welcome. As is advice on sourcing new suppliers who demonstrate they have environmental processes in place. Please email me with your ideas, thanks: Margaret.

Huts: Use of environmentally friendly products for cleaning are promoted. Volunteers who supply and maintain huts for us are encouraged to use and purchase enviro products in preference to standard alternatives.

Publications: Printed by Spectrum Print, Christchurch, who hold Enviro-Mark Gold and Forrest Stewardship Council Certifications.

Flow wrap: Our quarterly magazine, The Climber and annual NZ Alpine Journal are sent out flow-wrapped in their thousands each year. In recent times we switched from plastic to biodegradable wrap and with the 2019 issue of the Journal and 2020 summer The Climber we are changing to a compostable wrap instead. Long-term members will likely remember that the Journal did go out in a light cardboard box in the past but the vagaries of weather and the resulting complaints from water damaged items meant this couldn’t be an option to return to. Our first use of the compostable wrap for the Journal wasn’t fully successful as it hasn’t proved robust enough. We will work on this with the printers but continue to use this product for our magazines, which are lighter and have no sharp corners to damage the wrapping in transit.

Suppliers: Expectations on suppliers to the Club are another area where those with a better environmental record may find they are more likely to be the ones we chose.  As with our printer above, another example is a switch of poo pot supplier. NZ owned and operated Pharmapac, new to supplying NZAC in late 2019 holds a Diamond Standard Toitu Enviro Mark

Stationery: The National Office has joined Terracycle to recycle and take drop-offs of plastic stationery items. See the NZ Terracyle website to learn more. This is the link for Terracylce International options. This news post details items that can be dropped in for recycling: NZAC Joins Terracycle.

Products: We have confirmation from the Ministry for the Environment that the compostable cornstarch bags used as human-waste containment bags in our poo pots are not covered by the new ban on all plastic/biodegradable/compostable bags.

Packaging: This is the newest area being worked on. In the New Year, we will be phasing out bubble wrap with the introduction of  Eco-wrap. Courier packaging is going to be a bit of a harder transition. We will be able to phase in compostable bags for larger orders and local deliveries but are not fully able to do away with the plastic courier bags for smaller orders just yet. As with the mention above of cardboard being used in the past for the Journal, paper and card aren’t going to be the solution for us. However, please know we are in transition and will continue with the push to switch over entirely to more environmentally friendly products as we can source alternatives.

One downside of the compostable change is compostable products can only go into the Council Red Bins and not the Green, or Yellow if you don’t have a suitable home composting system for them. However, overall a much better solution than either plastic or biodegradable products. Online apps producing eco-friendly courier labels to go on compostable bags may be a future option but aren’t possible for us at present. We will continue to work with our courier companies who promise change for the better is definitely in their plans.

So a work in progress, which we will continue to expand on as we go forward.


Posted: 17/12/19

Posted By: Margaret McMahon