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The Problem With NZ’s Building Waste

I can’t be the only one who feels like you can’t go 500 meters down a road without finding a new subdivision either just finished, or being built – and frankly, I find it a bit terrifying. New Zealand as a country is known for its natural beauty, but the more land that gets used, the more that beauty appears to shrink.

And that’s not even the worst part. With each house that’s being built, there’s about 4.5 tons of waste being created. More than 43, 000 houses have been consented since the start of the year till may. Unsurprisingly, this was a rise of 17 percent from last year’s numbers. Although being information received from Auckland, their new builds produce nearly 570 thousand tons of waste, roughly half of the landfill’s total volume. If we were to ship that overseas, that would be equal to 23 thousand shipping containers, all ending up in the dump. Now I’m no saint when it comes to waste, just ask my mother, she’s a waste free warrior, making sure I’m not up to my neck in waste by the time I’m 40, but these numbers are pure insanity. Yes it’s necessary to produce housing for our growing population, but at what cost?

And the the amount of waste isn’t even the worst part, it’s how it’s getting stored. Yes it might be making its way to a bin or skip, but with most materials, it’s virtually impossible to get 100 hundred percent of it cleared away. I’ll be the first to raise a hand and acknowledge the fact that I can’t get a new item from a store just to have a ton of protective polystyrene not make it safely to the bin. Scientists, can we please get you onto making it biodegradable, and kicking corporation’s CEOs until they use it? The thing we have to remember is this waste is sadly entering our environment. Into our parks, our waterways and our wildlife, the very places we need to be defending at all costs, because for a lot of it, when it’s gone, there’s no bringing it back.

So there’s a look at one of New Zealand’s biggest waste issues, we really need to be pushing for better, healthier and greener solutions, because we already live in a disintegrating world. There’s a high chance that a lot of people who read this article will think, I’ll be gone by the time these things create big issues, but I would love to encourage you to think outside of your own head for future generations. This isn’t about giving up your whole life for another single person, it’s about making little changes and creating new ways of thinking for the entire world.