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Business of the Month
All great New Zealand teams dress in black.
They love to talk a whole of rubbish at Queenstown’s Smart Environmental, but it’s all for the good of the planet.
The 100 percent New Zealand-owned and operated waste and recycling company has been in the business nationally for more than 25 years and locally since 2007. That year Smart Environmental acquired local company Wakatipu Waste Recyclers which originally introduced commercial recycling in the district back in 2000, and former co-owner of that company Sheila Wrigley has continued working for Smart Environmental in Queenstown ever since.
The company has been operating as a refuse and recycling collection operator for private commercial operators in the Wakatipu since July 1 after previously holding the Queenstown Lakes District Council contract. From July the company extended its services to incorporate waste collection, and Queenstown regional manager Ricci Peyroux says it now takes care of a large proportion of the Wakatipu Basin’s commercial clients – businesses that are not part of the council’s collection service. “We service a lot of the Queenstown central business district, including bars, hotels and hospitality operators and everything from small private offices right through to large multinational businesses,” says Ricci. “We’re New Zealand-owned and support local services, promoting a circular economy and ensuring profits stay local.”
Smart Environmental has been planting around 200 native trees a year since 2012 to contribute to sustainability and help offset its carbon footprint. “We’ve been doing this through the Te Kakano Aotea Trust.
“We’ve also invested in new EROAD vehicle technology to better monitor and plan vehicle movements and reduce unneeded fuel burn,” says Ricci. “We’re currently running a couple of hybrid EV electric vehicles too.
Utilising natural energy and output with Compound.
There’s been a huge push in recent years to reduce waste and divert as much as possible from landfill as awareness is heightened about sustainability, the challenges of climate change and protecting the planet, says Ricci. “Our industry is always looking for different markets to get recyclables to. The whole international market has changed and is very dynamic, and New Zealand has typically relied on external markets.” This may change with some of the government’s recently announced initiatives for more local processing capacity.
“It’s paramount that we focus on what we call the ‘4 Rs’,” says Ricci. These include:
Refuse – to accept non-recyclable packaging
Reduce your waste (eliminate non-essential single use items)
Reuse what you can
Recycle (clean recycling) as much resource as possible to reduce use of raw materials that have to be taken from the earth. If clients are unsure about this Smart Environment can audit their site, or give advice to help reduce their waste.
There’s so much more awareness about the importance of guarding the earth now, especially as the younger generations coming through have been educated about it, he says. “It’s all about education and information which is so much more available now. It’s often a generational thing.” Younger, newer managers in businesses have been educated about recycling during their schooling and they’re far more aware, he says. “There aren’t many big businesses that don’t have some form of environmental or sustainability programme in place and they’re all geared towards reducing waste or reducing the carbon footprint.”
The result is a growing groundswell of people who really care about our environment and Smart Environmental is proud to be part of that journey.