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Source: Auckland Council

Commercial waste makes up more than 80 per cent of the total waste sent to landfill in Auckland each year. Making a difference in private waste is essential to reducing our carbon footprint and adapting to the climate emergency we are in.

Business North Harbour is partnering with Auckland Council to help its commercial business members get started on the path to zero waste.

Project manager David Loader is guiding Business North Harbour’s member businesses to better manage their food scraps.

“We knew there was a lot of demand for a food scraps collection, but businesses were at a bit of a loss as to how to get it started. Getting the right bin for your lunchroom is a hurdle that stops a lot of people at the beginning of their waste journey, even if they want to do the right thing.” 

Climate Change and Environment Committee Chair Councillor Richard Hills commends the Business North Harbour businesses that use commercial compost services.

“When we keep food scraps out of landfill, we not only reduce our waste, we reduce our emissions, sequester carbon and enrich our soil. We need everyone to get on board with these simple changes so that together we can reach our goal of net zero emissions by 2050.“

With the backing of a Waste Minimisation Innovation Fund (WMIF) grant from Auckland Council, David has now assisted 28 local businesses to start diverting food scraps from landfill since March 2018. His face-to-face, friendly approach takes away some of the confusion about how to compost. He enjoys the experience of getting out there and finding the solution that works best for each workplace.

“Every lunch room is different. Some have tiny kitchens, so you have to consider the space. I look at how many people are working there and how they’re approaching waste – what they’re doing with bottles and cans; are they recycling now? We help people understand what goes into the bin. A lot of people are surprised that they can compost egg shells, paper towels and compostable cups.”

We Compost (now Super Trash) and Reclaim perform the food waste collections and provide data about the volumes of organic waste collected from each business. The collections are carried out on a weekly basis.

The lunchroom bins are provided by the Auckland Council-sponsored project, and the first six weekly collections are free. This allows each business some time to try it out and build the routine. All 28 businesses that started this pilot project are still participating, and David hopes to expand to 40 by the end of June.

Together, they have diverted 32,163 kilograms of food waste from landfill. The project estimates this equates to 85,553 tonnes of CO2 gas emissions.