Our Waste Initiatives – cleaning up the messy business.
This blog has been updated in May 2021.
While travelling one of the most important decisions to make is what to eat and drink. Here at Aura we have kitchen facilities in all the rooms, a BBQ and steam box which guests can make the most of. However, what happens next, to food scraps and food packaging, is often the last thought on a traveller’s mind. We know our waste initiatives are super important as we feel it is our responsibility to provide our guests a means to dispose of their food and drink waste appropriately. This can be done via compost and recycling facilities on site, we have made it super easy for our guests to sort their rubbish and leave feeling guilt free!
Over 50% of household waste should be composted. We have a compost facility on site and provide a compost allocated bin in all our rooms to help make the choice easy.
- Over the month of April 2021 199 kg of landfill waste was collected and of this, 842 kg was composted. This means 21 % of guest waste was composted. We are thrilled with the effort our guests are making to be environmentally conscious while staying with us, but our aim is to raise that figure to 50%. To help off set this further we now collect non-organic waste and this gets taken to a local pig farm for their food! In April 16 kg of Pig Food was collect which meant another 8% of waste diverted from the landfill.
- Compost has awesome benefits for the garden such as replacing nutrients lost during the growing season. To share the goodness of the compost we have produced, using our guests organic waste, we provide our guests the opportunity to take a bag of it home for use in their own garden. Our compost was also used to help start up local community gardens such as Big Brothers Big Sister of Rotorua.
We provide a recycling allocated bin in all our rooms. During cleaning and servicing the bins are emptied and we then further sort the recyclables into aluminium, cardboard and plastics.
- We average 232 plastic drink bottles a month, this is roughly 1 plastic drink bottle for every 2.5 guests. Our tap water is the best, and we ensure we let our guests know this to ensure they can reuse that plastic water bottle.
For some time we were using the best biodegradable bags in the business, but the unfortunate reality is that in landfill conditions, without the presence of oxygen, these bags take a long, long time to breakdown. Now we use last months Skywatch magazine and yesterday’s paper to line our bins – No more plastic bags here.
- Over 12 months, this will mean we have contributed 10,000 less plastic bags to landfill.
We know that for some of our guests a hot drink from a cafe is part of their daily ritual. We are just a jump, hop and skip away from some of the best cafes in town (don’t forget to ask us our local suggestions for a cuppa when staying with us). But unfortunately, that take away cup comes at a detrimental consequence on the environment. The typical takeaway cup travels from as far as Russia, where the raw timber is sourced, stopping by Sweden to be pulped before making the epic journey down under where it is manufactured in Auckland and sold in your local cafe. Once it ends up in the hands of one of our guests it has travelled just as far, if not further, than them.
Tragically after all that time and energy to be transformed into a take away cup, on average it will have a life span of just 10 minutes before being discarded 50 metres from where you purchased it.
But when thrown away it must go somewhere. Where? Unfortunately, the typical take away cup is lined with a plastic called polyethylene (PE) which can only be recycled if this plastic is stripped away from the cardboard. We do not have the facilities in our country to do this, so it must go to the landfill.
What about compostable and biodegradable take away cups that have a plant-based lining? There are only 11 commercial compostable facilities in NZ that can process these, and they must be sorted into their own separate organic waste bin to be picked up. If these are placed in the regular recycling or composting bin they will end up in the landfill.
When did you last see a separate organic waste bin for compostable and biodegradable products?
So that our guests can enjoy their morning drink and make a conscious decision about whether to order a take away we have implemented an initiative called Loan-A-Cup. We provide our guests, free of charge, the use of one our Aura re-useable takeaway cups during their stay with us. We only ask that it is returned in the same condition we lent it, or you will be charged the sell price of $25 – easy!!
- Over the month of July 2019 we collected on site 183 takeaway cups – we hope Loan-A-Cup will help to reduce this number significantly. We believe that you can still travel and make wise choices about the environment, as you would at home.
Understanding & Implementation
We take our waste seriously. So seriously that we weigh and count it on the way out – It is a messy business, but essential in our eyes. By understanding our waste here at Aura Accommodation, we can raise awareness for our guests of the issues our environment faces. Through the initiatives we have implemented to reduce waste we have an opportunity to reinforce the messages we hear daily and to educate guests on the role that they need to play when travelling. At Aura, that role is making great choices around waste and correctly sorting it in the bins provided in our rooms. It is that simple here.
- 26% of our room bins waste is incorrectly sorted.
Decisions are too often made in commercial accommodation based on cost, efficiencies in time and convenience. We care enough to look beyond that.