Local celebs take tops off for recycling campaign

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Published: 29 Mar 2021

Mayor Nigel Bowen and Councillor Barbara Gilchrist are among a bunch of well-known Timaru personalities who have taken their tops off to raise awareness of Timaru’s dire need to improve its recycling.

Since last year’s COVID-19 lockdown, up to 48 per cent of Timaru’s weekly recycling has been contaminated and gone to landfill. If this continues, Timaru’s landfill will only last half as long as expected and the Timaru public could be footing the bill for a new $55 million landfill ten years earlier than planned.

The new high impact campaign is the second stage of Timaru District Council’s What’s In Your Bin promotion that started at the end of last year, and also includes well-known Timaru comedian Josh Thomson and international skating star Nicole Begg.

Everyone involved is passionate about the need for Timaru to reclaim its spot as one of the best districts in the country for recycling, Mayor Bowen said. “It will be hard to miss this campaign. We have gone for something to truly grab people’s attention,” he said.

“Having Josh Thomson work with us has been fantastic. I highly recommend you watch the recycling video he has made with us. It not only has all you need to know about recycling but includes a bit of comedy for everyone to enjoy.”

According to Cr Gilchrist, her friends will be a little surprised at the lengths she has gone to promote the messages of ‘Sticky or icky? Not in your recycling’, ‘1,2,5 plastics only in your yellow bin’ and ‘In Timaru, our recycling goes topless. Lids go in your red bin’.

“I am really quite shy and I wouldn’t take my top off for something that didn’t mean a lot to me. But if this is going to make people sit up, take notice, improve our recycling and reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, then I’m up for it.”

Billboards featuring Nigel, Barbara, Josh and Nicole will start going up tonight (Sunday 28 March) and will be followed by radio, print, online and social media advertising. An ad is featuring in tomorrow’s (Monday 29 March) Timaru Herald. Over the past few months, the Council has updated its website and been delivering new bin stickers to make it as easy as possible for people to find out how to sort their waste properly. Delivery of the 90,000 bin stickers will continue over the next month.

Cr Gilchrist said she wanted Timaru residents to be more vigilant about what goes in their yellow bin. “It is not ok for us to put items like food, nappies and medical waste in our recycling bins. Our recycling is sorted by hand and no one should have to touch anything like that at the recycling facility. Contamination also means entire truckloads of recycling material end up in landfill. I really hope our campaign will cause a stir and make big changes to a lot of bad recycling behaviour.”

For more information about waste and reycyling in Timaru District, visit timaru.govt.nz/whatsinyourbin

Last updated: 29 Mar 2021