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[GreenYes] the Gandhi cycle of social change at work

I know I don't have the exact wording right, but it goes something like
"First they laugh at you, then they ignore you, then they get mad at you,
then they join you!"

I think this is a perfect example of Stage Three, eh?

Eric Lombardi

Thursday, 01 Mar 2007

Report damns push for zero waste in NZ

A report damning the Government's push for zero waste in New Zealand claims
the goal is unachievable and too expensive for businesses and individuals

The New Zealand Industrial and Economic Research report was commissioned by
Business New Zealand specifically to look at the feasibility of the zero
waste ideal.

Business New Zealand chief executive Phil O'Reilly said the report showed
the Government's waste policy was "a nice thing to think about" but was
difficult to achieve.

"It would massively expensive and you have to ask whether that is the best
use of New Zealand's resources," he said.

The report cited the massive costs of transporting glass to Auckland for
recycling as an example of how it was sometimes more cost-effective to
simply dump waste.

Stopping short of estimating the actual cost of zero waste, Mr O'Reilly said
the report exposed some "real illogicality" in the policy.

"The better way of thinking about this is get rid of waste until it costs
you more than not (getting rid of it). That will lead you to a rational
economic outcome."

Mr O'Reilly said there was a lot more room to reduce waste in the business
and consumer communities, but zero waste was taking it "several steps too

Sustainable Business Network chief executive Rachel Brown said the report
was "an excuse for doing nothing" and missed the point of zero waste.

"We should strive for it. We shouldn't say we can't do it today therefore we
shouldn't have it."

The focus on recycling was the wrong way to think and was misleading
businesses in the gains in rethinking their processes, she said.

"What we want to do is get businesses working at the top end, and so
efficient that they are not creating waste in the first place."

Global leaders such as 3M and carpet company Interface had rejigged
production processes and saved millions of dollars, Ms Brown said.

She said the Government needed to put more funding into driving reductions
in waste.

"If they said, 'Here's a pot of money, with clear goals around reducing
waste,' watch them (businesses) put their hands up," Ms Brown said.

"That is what we are experiencing and it says to me there is a real will in
the business sector."

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