AA Magazine recently caught up with Keep New Zealand Beautiful General Manager, Heather Saunderson, about everything from where KNZB began to the up and coming Clean Up Week event this September.

What sparked the Keep New Zealand Beautiful initiative?

Keep New Zealand Beautiful began in 1967 as the Anti-Litter Council, with a sole focus around litter abatement. I like to think we did such a great job that we had to expand our initiatives. Litter is still a primary focus, but we also run nation-wide programmes carrying out environmental improvements and educational activities with strong community support through our local volunteer base. Our annual Clean Up Week is held every September, Paint New Zealand Beautiful, which focusses on eradicating graffiti, is held in March and we have planting initiatives to commemorate Arbor Day and World Environment Day in June.

What does Clean Up Week involve?

Businesses, schools, communities or individuals can register online and we’ll send out information, gloves and rubbish bags. Groups liaise with their local council to have a clean-up site approved and then they get stuck in.

It must be rewarding seeing communities come together and people so dedicated to cleaning up our country.

We’re not just about litter eradication and recycling, we’re about instilling a sense of community into our children, and bringing the new generation on board. Our volunteers fill in the gaps and work closely with councils on various initiatives. Their time alone has saved tens of thousands of dollars which gives councils the opportunity to spend money on other initiatives.

To read the full Q&A check out AA Magazine.

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