Pūtangitangi Greenmeadows Community Centre is a great resource for the Stoke community, providing a place to meet and hosting a whole range of activities. As a Council facility, it’s important it walks the talk on how we use resources and avoid waste.

The centre team has been working with Rethink Waste|Whakaarohia to set up a plan to do just this. We caught up with Centre Manager Gareth Cashin and Administration Assistant Karen Scott to find out what’s changed.

We know you’ve been working hard on a plan to make it easy for everyone to reduce waste – tell us a bit about it?

Gareth: We’re lucky to have a modern facility already well set up with a commercial kitchen facility and plenty
of reusable catering ware, so it was an easy step to move to a reusable approach. For our community users hiring rooms, this means that we ask them to use the plates, cutlery etc, already provided, rather than single-use items that have to be thrown away if they can’t be recycled.
Karen: We were keen to get on board – there’s a need for all of us to be better guardians. We looked not only at how users can reduce waste but also how we run the centre. That means practical actions such as reusing paper and getting our bathroom handtowels composted, as well as how the facility is used by the public.
Gareth: Our centre wants to reduce its environmental impact as much as possible, so it was really good to work with the Rethink Waste team setting up a plan with clear actions and next steps. We already had some good systems in place, and the on-site cafe has been a great champion, working on local farmer solutions for food scraps that are now in place for events as well as the cafe and encouraging reusable cups by offering a discount. Our regular users, such as Stoke Seniors, are also great at leading the way.

What else do you see as important?

Karen: It’s not just about our systems; it’s also about making avoiding waste fun. The centre recently hosted a Fix-It Saturday repair cafe, and the buzz of happy people bringing in items for volunteers to use their skills to fix is a great example. It’s a great way to bring community and environment together.

Gareth: It’s important to take this as a step by step process and learn as we go. We’re here to help our community and we always want to hear ideas and suggestions. It’s also important to measure the change we’re making and tell the story – we hope that others will be inspired to do the same.

To find out more or if you would like help with waste minimisation, email rethinkwaste@ncc.govt.nz.