Queenstown Lakes District Council’s Waste Minimisation Community Fund open for applications

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Posted 13 May, 2024
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Image from Tikki Studio

Applications are open for Queenstown Lakes District Council’s (QLDC) Waste Minimisation Community Fund (WMCF). Started in 2018, the initiative supports projects that will help move our community towards zero waste. They’re looking for anything that will complement and enhance existing programmes, address gaps or create opportunities.

This year, a funding pool of $50,000 is available for community projects that encourage enduring change behaviour and $10,000 for commercial waste minimisation or resource recovery projects.

One of last year’s successful applicants was Nina Chen at Tikki Studio, a Queenstown-based sewing studio where they encourage the repair, upcycling and making of textile goods. Each year New Zealand has 220,000 tonnes of clothes and textiles thrown out and since receiving funding the studio has worked to reduce this waste and encourage awareness of the issue.

“The main idea behind Tiki Studio is to create a place for people to learn how to sew again, because it’s a skill that’s kind of been lost through our generations,” Chen says. “Being able to provide that knowledge to our community, and then giving them the tools – we have sewing machines for students to use if they don’t have one – and making that process a lot easier to learn.”

Chen applied for funding from the WMCF wanting to provide repair and alteration courses for people in the community at a subsidised rate and to have events that allow people to shop for second hand clothes in a different way. She says the application process was easy and QLDC were really helpful throughout the process.

“With the funding, we were able to really put it out in the community and let people know that this service is available, and try to promote the classes as much as we can. We know that every class that we put up will run because the funding’s there, instead of having a minimum amount of students before we can run the course.”

Kath Buttar is QLDC’s Senior Sustainability Advisor and oversees the administration of the WMCF. Last year there were around 23 applications with 15 receiving funding. This year they’ve received a few quality applications, which Buttar says is good and expects numbers to grow as the deadline approaches.

“We’re still encouraging more people to apply,” Buttar says. “Anyone with an idea is encouraged to get in touch with us at zerowaste@qldc.govt.nz so we can help them identify whether their idea is a good fit for the fund before they apply. Then people just need to go to the webpage and apply there.”

Textile waste is just one example of waste reduction initiatives that the WMCF supports. Last year’s recipients also included Kiwi Harvest’s Hack Off Campaign, which aims to make personal food waste reduction methods interesting and entertaining for younger generations, while involving local chefs, and the Wakatipu Toy Library, who replace toys in the library, reducing landfill waste from discarded toys and packaging.

“Whether you're a grassroots community group, a local business or school, or an enthusiastic individual with a great idea that supports reducing waste at the source and or diverts material from landfill, we want to hear from you,” Buttar says.

Applicants for QLDC’s Waste Minimisation Community Fund have until Friday 17 May to submit. Don’t forget to get in touch if you’re unsure, otherwise use the QR code  www.qldc.govt.nz/services/rubbish-recycling/waste-minimisation-community-fund/ to apply. 


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