Let’s Go Back To Tap

A local Waipu graphic designer Emma McLean is on track to establish a project which combines art and technology to solve real, social and environmental issues.

The concept ‘Wai Tai Tokerau’, is to be established in 2020, in partnership with the environmental education and promotion organization Love Kaipara; if they are successful in their application to the Ministry of the Environment in May. The project entails the procurement and implementation of portable, event water-stations which will also promote, educate and change waste minimisation behaviours at events and in public spaces.

“Plastic Pollution is a global environmental problem and a huge issue we need to address at all levels of community and local government,” she says. “Approximately 78% of plastic bottles aren’t being recycled in New Zealand. We believe the best way to minimise waste is to stop it at its source by offering free water at events or in public spaces. Recently the economics of recycling has become ever more challenging in New Zealand, so we also need to think before the recycling bin.”

McLean, director of Hue Creative, says, “After working in design and marketing for over 12 years, I wanted to do something positive in an industry which impacted the environment.” Hue Creative currently produces work for business, government, community and philanthropic enterprises throughout Northland and through this work has made important relationships with the local community and potential stakeholders.  While McLean is thrilled to have had positive feedback from potential funders when she met them in November last year, she is looking for a secondary backer in Kaipara or Bream Bay to help get the project off the ground.

The difference with their proposed water station is a design feature to have interchangeable graphics on them which would play a vitally important role in educating and promoting behavioural changes while also offering a solution to our plastic crisis. “It takes very little effort to simply look at a picture - our mind connects the dots. That’s why graphic design is so important. The messages we can send are extremely powerful and wide-reaching,” Mclean says. 

After the three years funding to get the project established, she believes a sustainable business model could then be renting out the advertising space to fund the cost of setup and maintenance. Emma explains, “With the environment at the core of this marketing concept, it would help turn the tide on the 17,000 pieces per square kilometre, of plastic floating in our ocean”.

“The water industry is a billion-dollar industry. We are trying to challenge the mindset of water being something else we have to buy,” Emma says. “Water is essentially free, so how much are we really paying for that plastic bottle?”

For more information go to www.meetpat.com.au


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