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Wellington businesses help turn kai to compost

13 January 2006

Wellington businesses help turn kai to compost

Food scraps from 50 Wellington restaurants and businesses will soon be collected and turned into compost as part of an innovative trial designed to help minimise the city’s waste.

A collection truck, which has been specially modified to include a power wash for bins, will operate six days a week, starting on Monday 16 January. Ten businesses will be visited next week with the remaining 40 phased in over the next few weeks.

More than 150 businesses were keen to take part in the project – called Kai to Compost – and a cross-section ranging from large hotels to small cafes has been selected. The year-long trial is part-funded by the Ministry for the Environment’s Sustainable Management Fund. The fund will provide up to $106,284 towards the project, about 55 percent of the total cost.

Participants include Moore Wilson, Domino’s Pizza, Tug Boat on the Bay, Matterhorn, Westpac Stadium, Duxton Hotel, Portland Hotel of Thorndon, Bay Plaza Hotel, Pak ‘n Save Kilbirnie and the Council’s staff cafeteria.

The Council’s Environment Portfolio Leader, Cr Celia Wade-Brown, says the Kai to Compost scheme is good for businesses because it reduces their waste disposal costs and is also good for the environment.

“We hope the trial will lead to a permanent operation,” she says. “Kitchen waste generates leachate and methane in landfills, which are both environmentally problematic. It’s much better to make good use of the nutrient rich resource.”

Each business taking part has received a brown wheelie bin and information on what can go into it. About 2.5 tonnes of kitchen waste is expected to be collected daily and taken to the Living Earth plant at the Southern Landfill. The material will be mixed with green waste and used to produce compost which will end up nourishing local gardens.

The City Council recently approved a draft Environmental Strategy that reaffirms the Council’s commitment towards zero waste as a long-term goal.

The Ministry for the Environment’s Corporate and Community General Manager, Fiona Morgan, says the Council initiative is an excellent example of the type of project the Ministry’s Sustainable Management Fund supports.

“The fund assists local government, the community, industry and iwi in practical initiatives that make a positive difference to the environment.

“We are pleased to see Wellington City Council taking such a positive, forward-looking approach to dealing with a part of our waste stream that is often overlooked but has significant environmental impacts,” she says.

ENDS

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