Tips for a sustainable New Years resolution

  • Trevor Mallard

With 2008 approaching it is a good time for people to make a New Years resolution to become more sustainable from next year, Environment Minister Trevor Mallard said today.

"Whether you are staying at home and sharing your holiday with friends and family, or seeing the sights of New Zealand, there are plenty of ways to be sustainable and keep our country clean these holidays. It's worth also thinking about making a New Year's resolution to take some sustainable steps in the future," Trevor Mallard said.

"Behaving sustainably not only protects our environment, it also brings health benefits and savings and it's important for the economy as consumers around the world seek out climate friendly products and services. That's why the Labour-led government has a major sustainability programme in place New Zealand as we work towards becoming the first truly sustainable nation in the world.

"Tonnes of rubbish are created around the Christmas holiday time, so all New Zealanders are encouraged to reduce, re-use and recycle. Recycling wrapping paper and packaging helps cut down the more than three million tonnes of waste that is put into New Zealand landfills each year, and is something you can continue in the New Year.

"Disposing of Christmas trees is a messy task – hundreds of thousands of pine Christmas trees need to disposed of after December 25. But some local authorities such as Palmerston North City Council are willing to help out by collecting and recycling Christmas trees into compost. Check out your council's website for information on whether they provide this fantastic service.

"Shared meals and lots of socialising are common over the New Year. By ensuring that empty glass bottles, cans and plastic containers are recycled, you are on your way to forming a habit and helping our country keep its clean green reputation. Composting suitable food scraps instead of sending them to the tip can also improve your garden.

"For travelling in campervans during the holidays, think ahead and make sure you have a plan for waste disposal. Dumping waste in the open or even in stock effluent release areas should not be an option. Using one of nearly 600 dump stations is better for New Zealand's environment, health and tourism industry. These are publicly available in camping grounds or at service stations throughout the country.

"Likewise, if you are making the most of the sun this summer, plan ahead and take a few extra bags to the beach or bush to collect your rubbish, so that our outdoors spots stay clean and safe for other users and the local wildlife.

"Today 95 per cent of Kiwis have access to recycling facilities and eighty per cent of regions have kerbside recycling. With these services, recycling has never been easier, and the New Year is a great time to start."

Tips for a sustainable holiday and sustainable New Year

• Reduce, re-use and recycle rubbish including wrapping paper, empty glass bottles, cans and plastic containers.

• Compost suitable food scraps and improve your garden

• When on the beach or in the bush, take some extra bags to collect your rubbish at the end of the day.

• When stocking up for a summer trip away, or New Year's eve party, take a cloth bag to go shopping.

• Check out your local council's website for details about the collection and recycling of Christmas trees into compost.

• If you're travelling to visit friends or family over Christmas, switch off electrical equipment at the wall – and save money in your home while you're not there.

• Before you take to the road, take your car to be tuned and check the tyre pressures match the manufacturers guidelines – this saves fuel.

• Make sure others can enjoy beaches and the sea without coming across marine pollution by picking up litter, debris, fishing gear and boat rubbish.

• Boaties should not discharge untreated sewage from their vessels in areas where people swim, in sheltered waters, or near areas where people gather shellfish or near marine farms.

• Campervan users should use one of nearly 600 dump stations throughout New Zealand for dumping their waste. Dumping waste in the open or in stock effluent release areas should not be an option.

• Register your next step towards helping New Zealand become sustainable on where you can also find lots of tips for easy sustainable actions