Kiwiyarns Knits

A blog about New Zealand yarns, knitting and life



One of the things I like about my job is that I am learning a whole lot of new things. I thought I’d share a couple of these learnings with you today.

I’ve always considered myself a reasonably environmentally aware individual.  Yet this week, I learned  that cement, lime and concrete are toxic to fish and aquatic creatures.  The document I was looking at displayed pictures of a large quantity of fish that had died after building waste was washed into a water source.  I felt horrified and so sad.

Flashbacks of cement run-off going down into drains ran through my mind – how many times have we walked past a construction site and seen that happening?  It’s illegal.  But it happens.  In New Zealand, if the culprits are caught, the penalties don’t really seem high enough.  In the case of the example I saw, the company in question (not where I work) was only fined about $2,000, and the employees $300 each for allowing the leak to happen.

Another thing I learned not long ago is that the reason food waste should not be put into the landfill is that as it decomposes, the liquid generated mixes with toxic substances in the landfill to create leachate, which then can leak into water sources and the environment, with obvious consequences.  I wondered how many people actually know why food waste should not be put into the bin?  I had always thought “It decomposes, it’s ok.”

So why aren’t all councils providing composting as a regular component of waste disposal services?  After all, we don’t all have a garden or space to do our own composting.

I think that most of us do try to do the right thing, within the limits of our knowledge.  I just sometimes do wonder … how much don’t we know?


Author: kiwiyarns

Welcome to my blog where I talk about knitting in New Zealand and the beautiful yarns you can find here.

11 thoughts on “Learnings

  1. I didn’t know that about food waste – we have a fairly good recycling scheme here in Cambridge – three big bins, one for garden waste and food, one for general waste and one for recycling. And, although we get info about what to put in each – there is no why information. Would be worth it by the sounds of things.

  2. We put all food waste in the green bin here in Christchurch, that includes bones, fats, fruit, vege etc. However no dead animals, they still go into the red bin despite the fact that they decompose in landfill; seems daft to me. They’d work better composted, though so far we’ve found a suitable spot in the garden to bury our pets.

  3. it’s quite frightening how much we don’t know… food is best not put into a landfill as it decompses and creates toxic gasses too I believe, although it is so easy to compost I don’t know why it isn’t just a part of what we do!

  4. Luckily we have chickens so no food into the rubbish and we have a compost heap for paper too. Our local tip recycles so there is not too much going into landfill here. Its nice to feel like we are making a little difference 🙂

  5. I’m constantly being surprised at what is going on in our world that we don’t know about. One example for knitters/crocheters, the production of acyclic yarns are devastating to the environment both during production and after.

  6. I didn’t know about the food waste either! Wow. I wish the Wellington council did a compostables collection as well as the recycling and ‘normal’ rubbish. I should write to them.

  7. So often we are half-informed, which seems to be worse than not knowing anything. Here in the UK we can choose “biodegradable” disposable nappies, without knowing that there is nowhere near enough oxygen in our landfill for them to biodegrade at all. Even something as green as a salad leaf stays intact in our landfill for years.

  8. I dig a smallish hole in our backyard for the compostable food things, and when it fills, cover it up with soil dug for the new hole. It works. I didn’t realize that about food wastes in the landfills, tho’. Thank you.

  9. I keep meaning to get a composting bin or worm farm for our food waste. Until then I’ll keep chucking our (raw) fruit and vege waste at the weedy patch at the end of my back yard.