After a month long campaign encouraging New Zealanders to rinse their recycling before they put it in their recycling bins, WasteMINZ is excited to announce the winner of $25,000 is Wainui Beach School of Gisborne.

“We are absolutely stoked with the win!!” said Sue McVey, acting Deputy Principal shortly after seeing the live announcement on Three’s AM Show. “We have recently received our Green/Gold Enviroschool award and the topic really resonated with our tamariki and the kaupapa of our school. Our entry was a real team effort.”

Judges noted the entry had everything, but most importantly a whole heap of heart. It wasn’t one aspect that made it the winner, more that there was so much on show and that it presented the clear message to Rinse, Recycle, Repeat in the most memorable way. Over the course of four weeks, entries were received from all over New Zealand with families, councils and schools making up many of the entries. 

From dinosaurs lamenting the good ol’ days to a full stop motion lego cleaning facility. Even the dogs and cats around New Zealand got in on the action, helping their owners by making sure every scrap of food was licked clean from the containers, there was even a special appearance from Wellington City Council’s ‘Dr Trashley Bloomfield’. 

“We have been absolutely blown away by the creativity and talent of everyone who entered” said WasteMINZ Chief Executive Janine Brinsdon. “Cleaning your recycling doesn’t seem like the most exciting thing to post about, but people have taken us on a journey. I never thought I would be reaching for the tissues because of a tin of baked beans”, she said. 

Currently on average every fourth recycling truck is diverted to the landfill due to contaminated or incorrectly prepared recycling. With in excess of 600 Auckland Sky Towers in mass being buried every year in landfills across New Zealand, it is vital that we reduce, reuse and recycle as much as we can. “What might seem like something so trivial actually makes a huge difference to where your recycling ends up” said Brinsdon. “We want to make sure we leave Aotearoa in a better state than when we found it and this is a big part of that.”

The month long campaign which was supported by videos, entries and message sharing by our W members was aimed to remind kiwis of the correct way to prepare their recycling before it goes into the bin. It was part of a wider WasteMINZ campaign funded by the Ministry for the Environment aiming to change behaviour when it comes to recycling practices.