32700 bottles at Lochmara

Press Release: 7 June 2012

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Fifteen skips worth of glass bottles have been saved from landfill in the past 18 months at Lochmara Wildlife Recovery and Arts Centre in the Marlborough Sounds. It's an example of how one small business can make an appreciable difference.

The saving is part of a new on-site recycling programme at Lochmara that has resulted in a 70% reduction in the volume of waste leaving the boat access only property this season.

Building on an already solid base, the most recent programme is a combination of some of the newest and the oldest of recycling technologies.

Late last year, Lochmara invested in new glass crushing technology which converts glass bottles into glass sand. 32700 glass bottles have been crushed since the start of the project – that's approximately 30 cubic metres of bottles, 15 skips, or seven and a half barge loads. The resulting sand is an inert and safe material that is used for maintenance on Lochmara's walking tracks and spread to combat weed growth in the regenerating native bush and garden areas.

Vegetable gardens, fruit orchards, and water resources all benefit from the second initiative – composting and mulching cardboard and putrescible waste. Around a cubic metre of packaging a week has been turned into compost and mulch for the vegetable gardens and fruit trees for soil health and to retain moisture in the soil, reducing the need for irrigation.

Shayne Olsen, owner at Lochmara, has said "When you see your rubbish all piled up to leave by barge, it's a powerful motivation to find ways to bring that volume down. Reducing the volume of our waste is something we can all do as businesses and individuals. We'll keep looking for new ways to do better."

The new programmes are complemented by a range of existing waste reduction efforts. One of the most popular are the Kunekune (Captain Cooker) pigs and free range chickens who take care of all the kitchen waste, providing a real-life model of sustainability for visitors as well as happy pigs and free range eggs for the cafe.

The remaining waste is removed from the property by barge. Rubbish day came just three times this year, a record low since opening Lochmara Cafe in 2007. Further initiatives are planned for 2012/13.