Trish Allen’s Circular Economy Cuts Waste

Trish thrives in Matakana 70 km north east of Auckland, New Zealand. She has developed a passion for the permaculture principle – Produce No Waste! With Trish’s leadership Mahurangi Wastebusters actively reduces damage to the environment. In this short video she explains how recycling reduces the environmental damage by reducing the demand for manufacturing, mining and transportation of goods. By leading the change, Trish is forging a circular economy.

Trish Allen on Produce No Waste

Dumping Waste Worsens Climate Change

Waste is a huge contributor to climate change and reducing waste is a passion of Trish Allen. About six years ago she set up a Community Trust a non-profit organization. It is called Mahurangi Wastebusters to do waste education and provide waste sorting services at events. Because events create so much waste.

The Trust grew and became really popular. So, then when the opportunity came up to tender for two Council owned transfer stations they put a tender and got it! Now they run two community recycling centres. And they have converted them from transfer stations (where people used to dump their rubbish for landfill) into processing stations.

Trish at an education stand for Mahurangi Wastebusters
Trish at an education stand for Mahurangi Wastebusters

Better Sorted

They now have 28 different waste streams. And a shop where we sell second-hand items. They send items for ethical processing. For example all the E-Waste goes down to a place in Auckland called Abilities which is an organization that employs about 200 people with disabilities. At Abilities, the employees ethically dismantle everything. So the components can go for proper processing. There are also projects in Waiuku in the Waikato processing plastic bags to make fence posts. This project is called Future Posts.

Mahurangi Wastebusters is also a drop-off point for plastic bags and Silage wrap which goes off to be made into a kind of a plywood. And they are a drop-off point for Tetra pack which goes off to be made into another kind of building material called Save Board.

reclaimed metal waste Mahurangi Wastebusters at the processing facility
reclaimed metal waste Mahurangi Wastebusters at the processing facility

Start Young

Trish is very excited by the progress. “And now I’ve got a couple of wonderful young women working with me and one is going into Early Childhood centres to do waste audits for them. She installs worm bins, compost bins and also educates the children with stories and a little kiwi puppet. She teaches them about waste. And not making waste and not wasting things.

Repair Cafes

Also, I’ve got another young woman who’s doing well organising repair cafes. This is another kind of social permaculture that involves children and adults. It’s teaching people about waste and how not to do it, how to not just reduce waste but going back to a basic principle of permaculture – Produce no waste!

Image By G.Mannaerts, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=97417808

Generating a Circular Economy

“As we know the major environmental impact happens when you extract the resources out of the earth. So the longer we can keep them in in in our system in the circular economy the better!”

Trish has also organised a screening of the film ‘For the Blue’.  It is a film made by young New Zealand surfers and tackles issues around plastic in our oceans. And what we can do about it. The film will be screened at the Matakana Cinema on 5 April and 6pm. Then viewers are invited to actively participate in teams with real-life solutions. These activites include:

– join a town clean up in Wellsford

– join a beach cleanup at Goat Island

– pledge to only use a reusable coffee cup for a month ( no single use cups)

– pledge to only use a reusable water bottle for a month (no plastic bottles)

New Zealand MOVIE POSTER For the Blue

And Trish is co-teaching in New Zealand a 2 week PDC in April 2023.

Thank you for being part of a better future for all.

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Difference Between Organic Gardening and Permaculture

Design Matters

Not everyone has the potential live in an environment that can be certified organic. Most regions suffer from rain or wind-borne contaminants. However, through Permaculture design we can make our patch greener and more sustainable.

Design features of Permaculture:

  1. It has an ethical core. The test is: if it isn’t good for the earth and good for people in a fair share, then don’t use it.
  2. Each site is design to imitate Natural Systems. Permaculture uses biological resources and natural energies and observes the clever ways nature responds and adapts. Nature cycles the energy resulting in now waste. Efficiency is Natural.
  3. Permaculture uses a set of Principles, Strategies and Techniques

Integration is Key

Permaculture uses organic gardening practices but it goes beyond. It integrates the garden and home to create a lifestyle that impacts less on the environment.

The Permaculture garden is more than an organic garden. Although organic food production often has many innovative elements, a Permaculture designed garden joins each of the elements into functional relationships.

Being Mindful

Permaculture design is mindful of our relationship with our environment.  We see we are living in a period of energy resource limits. And we acknowledge that emissions are contributing to the heating the planet. Many of us are feeling the changes and seeing our environments polluted.  Whilst a few wealthy people have the resources to ignore climate change, most of the world’s people cannot. Rich people can relocate, get air-conditioning,  and import truck-loads of water.  But even the wealthy cannot fix nitrous oxide build-up or save their beach homes from collapse.

Big, Little, and More

Permaculture thinking can be applied to many physical and social structures. It is energy-wise and collaborative to minimise the impact of a culture on the surrounding environment. A good permaculture design has great potential. It can connect neighbours. The biggest Permaculture site in the world, The Chikukwa Project, has helped the whole community.

Permaculture design has:

  • Focus on closing the nutrient and water loop by using waste, and reducing the dependence on inputs.
  • Creation of healthier soil and diversity of produce.Our Permaculture Design and Demonstration Site.
  • Responsibility for waste. There is an aim to eliminate waste. i.e. no excess nitrogen nor weed seed, released.
  • Variety keeps residents engaged and excited about growing their food.
  • Imitating nature by conserving the soil and water, and genetic capital. There is an intensive use of space. Plants are allowed to set seed and are inter-planted for pest control. You are unlikely to see food plants in rows. The permaculture site will look more like a food-forest with some open glades full of herbs and perennials.
  • Optimisation of natural energies, e.g. wind, dust, leaves, bird droppings.
  • Nutritious food and habitat for people AND native animals and birds.
  • experimental permaculture chickenDependence on observation. Permaculture design is a mixed technology.  Bill Mollison (co-founder of permaculture movement) said that permaculture, like a bicycle, it is adaptable and has great potential but is only as good as the user.
  • Minimal risk. If we fail at permaculture, nature simply takes over. The soil will continue to heal, the forests grow and someone else can step in to rebuild our efforts.
difference between organic gardening and Permaculture.
ORGANIC Gardening can have higher single species yield whereas Permaculture has more species due to the principle of building diversity.

What’s the difference between Organic Farming and Permaculture?

Closed and Open Nutrient Cycling

There is a significant difference between closed and open food-production systems. In a truly closed system (one in vacuum or in space) energy is not lost it is simply transferred from one being or element to another. In a permaculture system, (which can never be fully closed), energy is ideally used by one element effectively and passed on for the benefit of the next before it leaves the system.

Organic Farming promotes the use of natural fertilisers, making use of the natural carbon cycle so that waste from plants becomes the food (fertiliser) of another. In organic farming however, as with ALL farming, minerals are being lost from the farm every time a truck load of produce is carted to market.

The Ideal Permaculture ‘Farm’ brings production of food closer to consumers and the consumer’s wastes back into the cycle. It also reduces the energy wasted in transporting the foods by producing the foods where the people are. In permaculture, the people contribute in their daily life toward the production of their food and other needs.

Soft Technology Tea - Tea doesn't have to cost the earth
Tea doesn’t have to cost the earth

When is Permaculture not Organic?

There will be times when a permaculture system is not strictly organic:

  • when we use local resources rather than imported certified organic resources
  • When we want to increase diversity by bringing in unusual plants/seeds from a non-organic plant supplier
  • Permaculture is capable of enhancing a supply and converting it to organic. for example: when we grow food-plants along polluted river or roadsides to filter out toxins and break them down to safer levels. We know we may not be able to eat these plants but we can keep them as our ‘catastrophe’ backup.

Essentially Permaculture aims to close the energy loop by working with what we have.

Compost is pretty hot stuff

Fostering A Culture of Community Recycling

This is not usually due to an intentional use of pesticides, but often due to the use of a by-product that would otherwise be wasted. We could use old shoes as pots for plants, an old truck tyre/tire to hold the edges of a pond. Sometimes the choices are difficult and we have to do a quick cost/benefit analysis. For example: At Silk Farm we use recycled oil (to make fire starters) and the oil cans (for our simple worm-farm towers) from a non-certified organic restaurant who sometimes uses leaves and fruits from our garden. This ‘trade’ stimulates our local relationship and fosters a culture of resourcefulness.

Permaculture Can Actively Convert Resources

worm towers

We would need to weigh the benefit of a using a free local waste (ie. horse manure) versus supporting a good organic supplier who may be in another country. When we design well, the permaculture system can act as a cleanser or processing agent. Sometimes, we can transform then utilise a polluted waste (within what is realistic achievable).  In the case of the horse manure, we could ask the owner about their anti-worming medication, check that it can be broken down by high-temperature composting then go about re mediating it before using it.  Good permaculture design will aim to have a better output than input. Organic gardening may not have checks to reduce the system’s impact on the wider natural system.

Build you knowledge about permaculture by doing a permaculture design course with us.

And you can build your design skills with our Design-Think-Tank Sessions.

Great Green Business

lloyd-and-J

Hard Look At Very Personal Business

Permaculture strives to design a healthier environment and society. Regenerative farming has come along quickly but  social permaculture designs have been a bit slower to emerge.  Peaceful societies are less destructive to the environment. Good business models, valued workers and clean work environments are good for everyone.

New Models

One fundamental permaculture strategy is to make small changes where they are most effective.  Lets take a peek at an industry that could do with a little greening: the beauty industry.  The beauty industry touches everyone. It has been slow to move on social and environmental issues yet, these small changes can have a huge effect.  Freeing people of toxic chemicals, and poor work conditions has resounding benefits.

eco-hair studio business model

Ecological and Social Style

In salons around the world, customers pay a small fortune to look good. Unfortunately the average hair stylist is poorly paid, often earning less than the minimum wage. This glamorous carer rarely gets a meal break, is standing all day and exposed to horrendous chemicals including formaldehyde. The beauty industry is not famous for the way it treats the workers or the chemicals is pours into the environment. But change is in.

Lloyd KK Eco-Studio Stylist and owner Lloyd KK took the plunge and opened the first eco-hair studio in his region.  He “wanted to use chemicals that have a low environmental impact, that were plant-based and renewable. ” He noticed “the green chemistry colours also have a shinier, more natural feeling results…Previously, I used to have chemical reactions to other colours, ie itchy hands/skin, skin peeling and puffy itchy face. These colours do not cause any of these reactions”

How To Avoid ‘Environmental’ Smoke and Mirrors

retrofitting saves dollar and wasteFor the rare business owner who wants to improve their environmental credentials there are very few models to follow. On the other hand, there are a lot of ‘green’ imposters.

Firstly, Lloyd set about retrofitting old furniture, researched composting systems and trailed low-toxic products. Then he researched and assessed environmental costs of consumables and how to recycle them. He also chose green power and low-cost lighting. Finally he set up systems to minimise waste in the business.

In summary, the process of greening traditional businesses like the hair industry will become easier. As customers demand ecological responsibility and value healthy practice, the suppliers will adapt.

For businesses wanting to lead the change and reduce environmental costs we recommend international Quality Environmental Systems [EMS]. You can achieve self-assessment or simply use the system as a guide.

Ultimately, being prepared to up-cycle, retrofit and adapt equipment will reduce environmental costs, build a better culture and save your business money.

Save

Peace and Goodwill

With a face of peace she lay anesthetised on the operating table late at night. It was 1956 in a small regional hospital. Her gall bladder had burst. The tired surgeon had a look and was shocked at the extent of the damage. His assistant said, ‘just stitch her up and don’t worry about all the extra cleaning’. The surgeon checked the patients notes, then looked at her face. He stepped back in surprise. “Do you know this patient?” “Um, Yes, she’s the boiler-makers wife”, “No! She is not just the boiler-maker’s wife…” He was now fast at work, careful and diligent. “This woman welcomed me to her little home for Christmas lunch when I was new to this country and all alone.”

Permaculture teaches us to recognise patterns: not just in nature but also in society. We can also observe and learn from patterns of behaviour, including our small circles of friends and family. By identifying patterns we can find inventive ways to learn and adapt. We search for ways to deflect harmful energies and foster useful energies. Keep faith in yourself to find peace in your heart, your family, community and keep working toward world peace because good planets are indeed hard to find.

12 Ways Of Celebration

1. Expect Less

have a giving spiritLess is good for each and every one of us. People who expect less get pleasantly surprised when great things happen. On the other hand, those who demand a lot in life can become focused on the little disappointments.
Having less stuff is also really good for the planet. When stuff is made, it costs us in resources. Most of these resources are finite. These resources will run out one day. When stuff is transported, it costs the earth in fuel and storage. When stuff sits in your home, it costs you in storage space, time and chemicals to clean or maintain, then it sits in a rubbish heap for thousands or millions of years. Stuff is finite. Stuff does represent wealth. Whilst one person has stuff, another misses out. It is quite OK to have less stuff.

2. Serve up your best

Healthy food can be a real treat instead of processed food.  Some processed foods can stir up irritability, depression and mood swings. Healthy foods don’t have to be more expensive. But the trade-off often means that to get serve healthy, unprocessed foods you need to set aside more time for preparation.

3. Take your time

Prepare your meal with a bit of patience. Allow time to serve a meal for a special occasion. Allowing an extra 2 hours can give you time to talk to your guests, answer the phone, supervise helpers, remember where you put something etc. Avoid experimenting in the kitchen on a special day. If you are going to have a day full of time-pressures and expectations, take the pressure off yourself. Unless you have the chance to practice making that special dish in the days beforehand, be kind to yourself and serve something you know you can do well. Another strategy to give yourself more time is to invite people for an evening meal instead of lunch.

4. Have mood-enhancing food

Comfort food is wholesome, nutritious and triggers happy memories. What were your family favourites in the festive period? Find how to make them fancy, fresh and healthy.

5. Make your own ‘tradition’

It is OK to serve cold foods in a hot climate. It is OK to eat outdoors instead of in the formal dining room. If it would help, don’t be afraid to ask your friends and relatives to bring their special dish to share. If you are invited to a celebration take a tray of nibbles that can be served or kept aside for later. (e.g. a box of assorted biscuits or chocolates). You can make a new tradition. One woman runs white picnics. She invites all her friends to dress in white, bring festive food to share and a rug. She has a different location each year but dresses up tables and a small shelter. Then she takes a photo of them all dressed in white.

6. Get outside

Outdoor spaces are healing. Eating outside and in public spaces can make the celebration more peaceful. Being outdoors reduces the background noise levels and the sense of confinement. It can be cooler in hot climates and can offer more space for the throng of people you love. It is OK set up a picnic on the front lawn or local park. You might like to invite the neighbors. Outdoor eating at night-time in warm climates is cooling, fun and festival. In cold climates you can break any old habits of grumbles around the table by taking you guests to a new venue – hire a small local hall or treat the family to a restaurant meal as their gift from you. It is far less likely that people will argue in a public place.

7. Set a safe festive atmosphere

Dress up in festive clothes, get out some music, add some talking pieces to the decor and provide silly hats.  Bring out some festive cheer but remember to provide plenty of water and tasty drinks. Keep the alcohol low. Get fancy glasses for lots of mocktails as fun alternatives. Ensure that food is provided before any drinks are served.  Drinktank noted a clear link between the availability of alcohol and domestic violence. Limiting the supply of alcohol delayed and lowered the risk of abuse due to intoxication.  Taking these steps to slow the effect of alcohol, limit the intake and provide good alternatives works to lower the risk of abuse.

8. Be the change you wish to see

Be an angel of calm. Even when you feel rushed and tired, staying rational guides anyone who wants to helps. Keeping a good temperament, even if you feel disappointed in others, allows you have healthy discussions, fix any misunderstandings and find a way to achieve happy resolutions. Essentially, when you look calm and merry, your guests are more likely to feel welcome and behave agreeably.

9. Take things off the boil

our little green fortune-teller

Create distractions away from heavy conversation where year old grievances might raise their ugly head. On special days guests can tolerate a little quirky revelry. Provide opportunities to play old favourites like a ball game, a sing-along or a quick board-game. As the host, you have the rare opportunity to direct conversation to safe shores.
Bring out the crackers with dad jokes. A silly joke unites people (a sophisticated joke can leave some people feeling dumb).

Play with the children, even if this means you need to turn your socks into smelly puppets. Children are our hope for a better future. Teach them to value relationships more than the presents. The young ones are young for a few special holidays, so enjoy their company.

10. Let people retreat to peace

Most people are like lions. They like to rest peacefully after eating.  In  fact, there is a chemical released by the brain after eating that makes us sleepy. Give people plenty of comfortable options. Encourage your guests to find a place to laze and relax. Ideally, breaking into groups can help diffuse potential arguments in a group with disparate interests or opinions.

11. Be flexible

Once the feeding frenzy is over, try to relax. You can clean the dishes when it is all over. Enjoy the chance to connect with your guests. In conclusion, if you end up with a mess but no emotional damage then you can be happy that you have achieved your goal of peace and goodwill.

12. Focus on the present

You are the one who controls your speed. Enjoy what you’re doing in the here and now. For some people, the only time they allow themselves to slow down is when they get sick. Don’t wait until you are sick to be forced to slow down. After all, It is your holiday too. Savour the happy moments.

Chicken peace

Up-skill your love of nature and healthy living. Do a permaculture course with us today,