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Bottle Drive bonanza!

7.30 am last Saturday morning at the Kaitāia market, kids waiting patiently to claim 10 cents each for their cans and bottles. What an epic Kiwi Bottle Drive! We paid out nearly $2,000 over 4 hours. They just kept coming. People collected bottles and cans from places like SH 1 and Lake Ngatu. Two people tried to pay us!

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A big thank you to the two young girls who took our petition around the market and collected at least 40 more signatures. Also thanks again to Adele Gardner Chairperson, Te Hiku Community Board for helping with the event including Coffees, Hot Chocolates, a generous donation of $40 of her own funds towards pay-outs when we were running out of money and also taking home the petitions to enter on the Kiwi Bottle Drive site.

Thanks also to Tui Toka and Andrew Snow for manhandling nearly 30,000 glass, plastic and aluminum bottles and cans so adeptly and efficiently. And thanks to Member of Parliament, Matt King for helping us out for several hours and committing to convincing his colleagues in Wellington that it’s time for New Zealand to adopt bottle deposit. What a team.

Thanks to the local businesses who sponsored the money we used to buy the bottles:  Stonecraft Construction, Brakes Colour Plus, Northland Auctions, and Shackleton’s Chemist. Also Northland Waste who delivered the bins and bags and picked them up again at the end of the event.

And thanks to the mums and dads and children of Kaitāia and the surrounding area who smashed the ball out of the ball park with might be a world record number of containers recycled in one morning.

Sometimes we forget the most important things. The Bottle Drive at last Saturday’s Kaitāia Market was part of Plastic Free July, which is being run by Waikarere Gregory and the Plastic Free Kaitaia 2020 team. Also thanks to Far North Environment Centre for their sponsorship and to Ahipara School. Keriana Te Paa and Porky Murray swept in right on time with the school’s double size gazebo, had it up in a jiff and then came back from a busy day at midday and took it down. Such an amazing contribution!

The bottle buy back event was part of Plastic Free Kaitaia 2020 which is being run by Waikarere Gregory and others. Without Waikarere it wouldn’t have happened! They have a number of events going through July and ongoing. Businesses and schools are already making lots of changes. Check out the Plastic Free Te Hiku Facebook page for more information.

by Warren Snow

Waikarere & team will be back at the market this Saturday with Kaitāia Kete and other things to help you reduce the plastic in your lives, so pop along and say hello.

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