You TubeFacebookTwitterflickrGoogle plus
Wednesday, 24 April 2019 07:49 pm

Popular food waste scheme turns table scraps into garden goodness

FOUR years ago, award-winning restaurant Logan Brown was sending four wheelie bins of waste to landfill, per day.

Now it’s just one, after they joined a Wellington City Council-run scheme called Kai To Compost.

Kitchen staff have bought into the required sorting of food to allocated bins and this helps keep the Gold Star Enviro mark held by the business.

Co-owner Steve Logan (right) says he was concerned about the restaurants’ carbon footprint and the impact his business had on the environment.

As part of the community, he wanted to operate as responsibly as he could:

“I would really encourage any of my colleagues to do this – it’s a really good service.”

Businesses in Wellington are using the scheme to recycle food waste and save on landfill space .

Donna Sherlock, Wellington City Council Waste Minimisation and Education manager, has seen the recycling program grow and gain popularity in the four years it has been running.

As a passionate greenie with a strong desire to see responsible businesses operating, her enthusiasm has transformed a small idea into a successful enterprise, with businesses now approaching her to get on board and reduce their carbon footprint.

“This is a great opportunity for putting resources to good use,” Donna (left) says.

Businesses can choose a 40 litre or 120 litre food scrap bin, and recycle everything except meat – which gets too smelly – and a council truck will pick up the bin and take it to Happy Valley refuse station.

The scraps are dumped on a conveyer belt where it is sieved to take out unwanted items like cutlery or plastic, which earns a fine for businesses if it happens too often.

Bucket trucks then regularly turn over the massive rows of food scraps, taking 300 days to mature into “steamy, light, fluffy soil.”

Finally, the compost is bagged and sent to garden stores where customers can purchase the end product, completing the process of waste to garden..

“We have made a start on Biogro certification, meaning organic farms can use our compost and this also raises the quality of our product,” says Donna.

The cost of sending food to landfill every day or paying for a truck to haul away food scraps is about the same and no extra cost to ratepayers.

Initial set-up costs for Kai to Compost were covered by a sustainable management fund grant for a pilot feasibility project and the council contributed a truck.

Moore Wilson’s owner and director Julie Moore has been composting food waste from the produce department since the trial began and thinks it is a good concept.

“Any opportunity in business to recycle and be environmentally conscious is worthwhile doing,” she says. “We pay for waste so it may as well be put to good waste.”

Wellington mayor Celia Wade Brown is a strong supporter of the scheme and stands behind the idea of as much waste minimisation as possible.

“Kai To Compost is fantastic and I believe in the concept whole heartedly, for any business wanting to do their bit,” she says.

RAW PRODUCT: Wayne Matavao Fuemaono loves his job collecting left-over food.

MIDDLE PRODUCT: Composted waste is seived at the Wellington landfill.

HOT MOUNTAINS: Steam rises from the finished compost as it is turned.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

is A journalist who loves wide open spaces and fresh air, passionate about the world we live in and keeping our natural world as pristine as we can while still living happily. Responsibility is the first step. Toiti te whenua.
Email this author | All posts by

Leave Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Radio News