Sustainability Update


The Sustainability Executive, in consultation with representatives from the Sustainability and Health Council, Environment Club, Food Technology, Kitchen/Dining Room staff, Boarding, Health, PE, Wellbeing, our Gardener and Management, have developed the following KPI’s to implement in Term 4, 2016. These relate to the ‘Food and Drink’ and ‘Purchasing and Waste’ criteria of our Rangi Ruru Sustainability Philosophy.

I would like to acknowledge the fabulous Sustainability Executive team. Thank you Catherine Low, Philippa McIntyre, Pam Schreurs, Isabella Gregory, Emilie Aitkin, Sarita De Gouw, Lucy Simpson and Pia Petersen for your hard work and passion. Thank you also, to all others involved in initiatives including Senior Leaders, Form Seniors, the Environment Club, staff and students. Your support is much appreciated.

Kate Rivers
Director of Sustainability



Implementation of Food/Drink and Purchasing/Waste Strategies from Rangi Ruru’s Sustainability Philosophy

Food and Drink
We would like to supply healthy, local and sustainable food and drink. Showing strong commitments to the environment, social responsibility and animal welfare, as well as maximizing our use of local suppliers and onsite production.

Purchasing and Waste
We promote sustainable procurement and procedures, using goods and services of high environmental and ethical standards from local sources where practicable. Increasing value for money by reducing, reusing, repairing, recycling and composting as much as possible.


What This Means for Girls and Staff

  1. Changes to drinks available for purchase

In line with 2016 Ministry of Health and Ministry of Education recommendations, the only bottled drinks for sale at school next term will be water (and plain milk if there is demand). Stainless steel reusable drink bottles will also be available to purchase from the Dining Room.

  1. Less packaged products available

In New Zealand schools there is a move towards healthy sit down meals prepared onsite rather than selling convenience foods. Studies consistently show positive impact on student health and wellbeing as a result. With this in mind, we will be increasing onsite production of fresh, healthy food and decreasing brought in, packaged/processed products.

  • Single serve butter/ spread will be replaced by bowls of cut up butter/spreads.
  • Instant noodles in styrofoam cups offer little nutritional value, contain unsustainably sourced palm oil and the packaging takes an estimated 1 million years plus to break down in landfill. Other healthier noddle options with less environmental impact will be offered. Please forward recipes/ideas to
  • Pre-packaged, highly processed muffins, donuts, biscuits and bars high in refined sugar and fat with non-biodegradable/non-recyclable packaging will no longer be offered. Healthier, more nutritious options will be available.
  • Pringles chips have non-biodegradable/non-recyclable packaging. Analysis of waste in our school bins shows most people do not finish Pringles and often half to a third of the chips are dumped. This packaging and contents regularly contaminate the recycling bins. Smaller servings of chips will be offered instead.
  • Flavoured popcorn is extremely high in sugar and salt. Healthier alternatives will be offered instead.
  • Ice creams available in the Dining Room will be limited to small serving sizes and healthiest options as recommended by Year 11 Nutrition students following detailed analysis. We encourage students to consider ice creams as ‘sometimes treats’ not every day food.
  • Cling Wrap will only be used when necessary for hygiene. Sandwiches can be placed in napkins, wrapped in lunch paper or placed on a compostable plate.
  1. Meatless Monday Lunches/Mindful Mondays

Student driven requests and thorough research supports having one lunch hour a week without meat in the Dining Room. This is in line with the Rangi Ruru Sustainability Philosophy from an ethical and environmental stand, and is part of an international movement throughout many schools and workplaces. We currently have at least one day per week where hot choice items made onsite are meatless. Creating awareness through a regular meatless day will allow mindfulness and reduce our collective greenhouse gas emissions as a community. Lunch time Meatless Mondays will extend to the sandwich bar and sushi.

Plans for the Future

The following possibilities are currently being considered by the Sustainability Executive Team

  • Looking at options to have nutritious food available at interval.
  • Planting more fruit and vegetables, setting up a glasshouse onsite
  • Becoming a carbon neutral school

Showing Respect for the Environment

Our Wellbeing focus this year has been on how we show our school values in action. In Term 3 our focus was on Respect. Thought provoking discussion about how we can respect the environment has been initiated by tutors, Form Seniors, teachers and during Chapel. Outcomes of discussion and class projects have heightened awareness of our responsibilities as consumers.
Many classes have demonstrated creative approaches to communicate ideas about respecting our environment. 10Og collected hundreds of clean milk bottles and made an igloo large enough for pre-schoolers to play in!  9Rs, with the support of Ms Hancock, produced poems about the environment and presented these as handmade books made from 100% recycled products. In Science the girls made paper and Art provided ideas and for the construction of the books. These stunning books were recently displayed in the Gibson Centre. Other classes produced movies and dance to convey ideas about respecting our planet. Shelter and Dimensions will show case these projects in future publications or online. 

Key messages

  • Use cloth bags for shopping to reduce your impact on the environment. New Zealanders use over 1.6 billion plastic bags in the home every year. 4.3 million are being thrown away each day!
  • Walk or bike, bus or car pool to school/work. Rangi is surrounded by beautiful parks and reserves. If you need to drive, park a few blocks away and walk some of the way. Incidental exercise adds up, increases fitness and makes you feel good.
  • Check exfoliating scrubs, facial cleansers and toothpaste ingredients for plastic microbeads. Evidence shows these and other tiny particles of plastic are entering our waterways and embedding themselves in the marine food chain.
  • Research and support effective charities, proven through evidence to be doing the most possible good with donated money. For further information email
  • Soft plastics capable of being scrunched into a ball can now be dropped back to New World, The Warehouse or Pac n Save to be reused and made into fitness circuits, road bollards, park benches and playground equipment. Bags to collect include bread bags, frozen food bags, toilet paper packaging, confectionary and biscuit wrap, chip bags, pasta, cereal and rice bags, courier bags etc. A soft plastics collection has also been set up at Rangi. 

Other Initiatives

Collection boxes
9Rv have set up REUSE collection boxes and each class member is responsible for managing a collection. Please save the following items and deliver to the REUSE station in the covered area where the vending machine used to reside:

  • Plastic food storage products/cling wrap/snap lock bags, all oral care waste including tooth brushes and floss containers, The Collective NZ yogurt pouches and all packaging, Fonterra pouches, Nescafe Dolce Gusto and Nespresso coffee capsules. Sent to Terracycle to be made into moulded plastic products and Rangi receives cash to donate to Cool Earth.
  • Mobile phones. Sent to Remobile. This initiative supports Sustainable Coastlines in NZ.
  • Creative junk. Offered to Rangi Ruru Preschool or Creative Junk.
  • Hazardous waste. Taken to CCC Eco Drop to ensure it does not contaminate landfill.
  • Egg cartons and milk bottles. Returned to suppliers for reuse.
  • Clothes, sports gear and clan gear. Reused onsite or donated to charity.
  • Bras and togs. Oncology Department at Christchurch Hospital sends to Pacific Islands
  • Medical gear/splints/moon boots. Donated to Pacific Island hospitals. A Rangi initiative.
  • Books and stationery. Reused or donated to schools/charities.
  • Fresh fruit and vegetables. Donated to The City Mission/used by staff when cooking at Ronald McDonald House or the City Mission Shelter.

Please support these initiatives. In doing so, as a community we can significantly reduce waste to landfill. Each product collected as part of the Terracycle program earns Rangi Ruru 2 cents. This quickly adds up and we can earn money from waste to support our nominated charity Cool Earth. Cool Earth is proven to be an effective charity making a difference in protecting/supporting rain forests and their communities. We also have the opportunity of winning $1000 through the Colgate Oral Care competition by collecting tooth brushes, tooth paste, floss containers and all associated packaging (any brands). A thousand dollars can make a significant difference and provide alternatives to deforestation, for those living in rainforests.

Paper for Trees
Through the Paper for Trees program we have earnt 139 tree seedlings. If anyone would like to help with planting, please email
Planting will occur in early November probably on Banks Peninsula.

Fair Trade Exhibitions
Recently a group of around eighty Rangi Ruru students from across all year levels and a range of subjects including English, Te Reo and Art worked collaboratively to produce poetry, tuku tuku stitching and artworks for two exhibitions. The works created included porcelain bowls moulded from coffee sacks, a porcelain lampshade, large banners and poems stamped with fair trade coffee and tea. Thank you to Heaton Normal Intermediate for collaborating with us and firing the ceramics.

Rangi Life