Auckland diverts 9 million kilos of food scraps from landfill

Ka pai Tāmaki Makaurau!

Publish Date : 27 Nov 2023
Food Scraps Bin Image
Food Scraps Bin

Aucklanders have kept nine million kilograms of food scraps out of landfill with their new rukenga kai (food scraps) collection service.

One of the largest service rollouts in Australasia has seen Auckland Council deliver more than 440,000 food scraps bins to homes in mainland urban Auckland over the past seven months.

The first collections of food scraps began in Waitakere in April with the last urban areas of Rodney and Franklin having their collections start in November. Over that time a total of nine million kilograms - or 9,000 tonnes - of food scraps has been collected.

Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee Richard Hills says Aucklanders are redefining food scraps from what was once considered waste into a valuable resource.

“Our aspiration for Auckland to become a zero-waste city by 2040 is much closer with most residents now able to access the food scrap collection service. Weekly amounts collected right now suggest we’re on track to collect over 35,000 tonnes in the first full year, well on the way to our yearly target of 40,000 tonnes.

“Food scraps that once created only harmful greenhouse gases in landfill are now contributing to a circular economy solution. We’re grateful for how well Aucklanders have embraced the new service and are choosing to see their food scraps put to good use.”

Some areas have seen reductions in the weight of total refuse in kerbside rubbish bins by up to 20 per cent.

Instead of sending food scraps to landfill, Aucklanders are ensuring their food scraps benefit the environment.

Auckland’s food scraps are processed at New Zealand’s only anaerobic digestion facility run by locally owned company Ecogas, which converts the food scraps into renewable energy and liquid fertiliser.

Deputy Chair of the Planning, Environment and Parks Committee Angela Dalton says the food scraps collection service rollout has been a collaborative effort.

“The success of the rollout is testament to the many local community organisations, collectors and contractors, who have worked with the council team – and to residents who have championed the food scraps collection in their neighbourhoods.

“A special thank you to everyone who puts out their food scraps bins every week.”

All areas of mainland urban Auckland have had food scraps bins delivered where possible. The council is working through a list of residents yet to receive their bins because, for example, their properties were still under construction when deliveries were done in their area, or they live in multi-unit developments that need a tailored solution.

All multi-unit developments, like apartments, retirement villages, and gated communities will be assessed as to whether a food scraps collection service can be delivered either as normal or as a non-standard service.

In these cases, property managers or body corporates can register with Auckland Council for a site assessment to design a food scraps service that works for the residents and the property.

The food scraps collections service is part of a four-tiered approach by Auckland Council to reduce food waste going to landfill. The approach involves preventing food waste in the first place, supporting redistribution of food through food rescue initiatives, encouraging home and community composting, and collecting the remainder with the kerbside collections of food scraps.

WATCH: video of the journey of food scraps from kerbside collection to liquid fertiliser

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