Northland woman saving the planet one oat milk at a time

After concerns of dairy milk’s sustainable impact loomed, one greenie from Northland quickly jumped ship to oat milk until she realised the empty containers were going straight to landfill.

Local Northlander Polly Thomas is on a mission to save the planet, one oat milk at a time, admitting that earlier in the year she was stuck between a rock and a hard place.

“Once I knew the negative impacts of dairy milk I switched to oat milk, until I realised I had taken one step forward and two steps back as the containers were going to landfill rather than being recycled,” explained Polly.

With a willingness to reduce waste to landfill and be a pioneer in her community, Polly was introduced to Tetra Pak’s sustainability manager Graham Burrell by mutual friends, where she heard about the magic of saveBOARD turning Tetra Pak containers into low-carbon building products.

“Graham asked if I was interested in setting up a collection point in the community and I immediately jumped at the opportunity,” she said.

Polly approached the local sports complex to set up the collection point, a place where the community are always bumping into each other.

The collection point has been running for the past five months and, due to hot demand, within three weeks Polly was already setting up a second bin.

Polly empties the bin weekly and delivers the container to her neighbour Mark Gane who coincidentally works for Mahurangi waste-busters and he transports the waste from the township once a week, delivering it to saveBOARD in Hamilton.

“It is such an easy process and it’s saving the planet too,” Polly said.

From DIY signs to Facebook group posts, Polly and her friend Lorna Clowes do their own advertising of Northland’s new collection point in the community that even reaches those outside the community.  

“We have had interest from workplaces and schools outside our community and I have put them directly in contact with Graham from Tetra Pak. The community enthusiasm is awesome.

“We asked people to clean the containers and flat pack them and they do it beautifully. It is so encouraging to see the community get behind the initiative,” she said.

Polly’s goal is to inspire the local cafes to get on board and be able to fill up a third bin.

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