Ōtepoti Vinnies sustainability initiatives

At the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Ōtepoti Dunedin, we have been looking at ways to make our processes more sustainable recently and it is starting to pay off. We have been able to go from having our bin of general waste emptied weekly to only emptying it fortnightly.

Some of the positive changes we have made recently include:

  • Local shampoo bars
  • Purchasing butter and portioning it, wrapping the portions in baking paper, rather than buying plastic pottles of margarine.
  • Collaborating with Solid, an Aotearoa New Zealand company making innovative toothpaste alternatives rather than buying plastic toothpaste tubes.
  • Portioning bulk supplies into recycled jars and tubs or paper bags rather than buying plastic bags for the purpose.
  • Composting fruit, vegetables and other compostable items.
  • Wrapping sausages in paper rather than purchasing plastic bags.
  • Preventing fabric waste going to landfill by diverting it to:
    •    Squares of fabric for patchworking
    •    Bags of rags for mechanics
    •    Rag rugs made by our volunteers
    •    Making t-shirts into bags for use in the food bank
    •    Removing buttons and zips for resale or reuse
    •    Using strips of fabric in place of string
    •    Free bin in the shops for items that need a small fix
  • Dramatically reducing printing and laminating.
  • Reusing old paper for scrap paper instead of using new pads.
  • Using bars of soap in staff areas instead of handwash.
  • Using rags for cleaning instead of paper towels.
  • Emptying rubbish bags into the skip and reusing them.
  • Collecting discarded metal and taking it to the metal recycler.
  • Taking cardboard to be recycled.
  • Having staff take plastic recycling home to put in their recycling bins (there is no free plastic recycling in the central city).