The Zespri AIMS Games green team are getting ready to have a huge impact by leading recycling efforts throughout the week long event.
Waste Watchers Ltd director Marty Hoffart has been involved in the team for 15 years, pulling together year seven and eight students from Mount Maunganui Intermediate, Tauranga Intermediate, Otumoetai Intermediate, and Papamoa College.
He says he is looking forward to working with some “great kids” again this year, and helping create a sustainable event with minimal landfill.
“These kids are not part of a sporting team, so this really gives another group of kids to get out and participate in the AIMS Games.
“They’ll be out all week rain or shine with our recycling ambassadors. Mount Maunganui Intermediate will do the netball, Otumoetai College will cover the hockey, Tauranga Intermediate will do the rugby, and Papamoa College will do the football.”
The goal of the green team is to create the least amount of waste possible, and help the public when recycling to make sure rubbish goes in the correct bins.
“We have a bin for landfill, a bin for organics and food scraps and a bin for recycling. They’re out helping keep those bins with the correct materials in them, and reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and increasing the recycling rate.”
Marty says the kids “absolutely love” having an involvement in creating a sustainable event, and have already undertaken a “training day” to see what happens with recycled materials.
“To be honest, this generation of kids are pretty clued up on the environment. They are the next generation which will grow up as adults, so this is a great opportunity for them to get out to a large event and see how, with a little bit of effort, there can be minimal landfill.”
When asked if there is any specific items which are not commonly put in the correct bins, Marty says “everything”.
“Most people don’t litter on purpose, and the 11,000 athletes coming to Tauranga are good kids. But with winds and stuff that gets dropped, there is litter that accumulates.
“If you don’t have someone there to help, or know where to put things like a coffee cup can be confusing for the public. A lot of us think we know what can be recycled, but sometimes with packaging it blurs the lines. This is why we have 50 people out there to help us achieve minimal waste.”
Marty says members of the public can help the green team by giving them a simple thank you.
“It’s not an easy job sorting stuff out with a rubbish bin and keeping the grounds tidy, especially in the rain. The public can look at the labels put things in the correct bin, but it also never hurts to tell the kids they are doing a great job and give them a pat on the back.”