Waste-free expert supports bin campaign

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Published: 04 May 2021

Waste educator and motivational speaker Kate Meads is getting behind Timaru District Council’s What’s In Your Bin? campaign.

Since November last year, the high-impact campaign has been raising awareness about how we can all make a difference to reduce contaminated recycling going to landfill.

Currently, 42 per cent of Timaru’s recycling is being contaminated, which is a drop from 48 per cent reported in January. While this rate follows a downward trend, there is still a lot more work to be done to reduce contamination levels.

As a waste educator, Kate travels the country visiting towns and cities to hold informative seminars about waste minimisation. On 5 May, she is holding two workshops in Timaru at the Timaru District Council Chambers.

Kate, who recently appeared on TVNZ 1’s ‘Eat Well for Less’ show, has been running workshops in Timaru for the last six years. She was pleased to see the Timaru District community getting behind the What’s In Your Bin? campaign to help put Timaru back on track to reclaim its top recycling spot.

“Timaru is not on its own in this,” she says. “A lot of other councils around the country have had increasing recycling contamination since COVID-19 - it’s a really challenging time.

“A public campaign is so important. It’s up to the consumer to learn what you can and can’t recycle. The information is out there, it’s about learning it, and putting it into action.”

Waste Free with Kate & Co, supported by the Timaru District Council, will present two workshops on Wednesday 5 May: Waste Free Parenting, held from 11am until 1pm, and the Waste Free Living Workshop, from 5.30pm to 7.30pm. Both workshops are being held at the Timaru District Council. You can book online at www.katemeads.co.nz or pay at the door. The ticket price is $27, and all participants receive a goody bag worth $100.

Among the information that Kate shares at her workshops are: if every baby in New Zealand had just one change per day into a reusable nappy, for one week, it would result in one million disposable nappies not being sent to landfill. And that in the last 10 years there has been more plastic created than in the previous century.


Since last year’s COVID-19 lockdown, up to 48 per cent of Timaru’s weekly recycling was being contaminated and going to landfill. If this rate was to continue, Timaru’s landfill would 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.


Last updated: 04 May 2021