What a great day out the Bigbuzz Festival was last Sunday! And so lucky to get it in just before Level 3 lockdown on Sunday night! Huge thanks to Grass, Isabella and their team for pulling off this fantastic community event.
We want to say a big thank you to the Wastebusters volunteers who supervised the waste stations and helped the festival goers to know what was compostable, what was recyclable and what was landfill waste. Happily the vast majority of waste was compostable, although sadly we weren't able to weigh it due to lockdown. But we estimate approx. 90% was either compostable or recyclable. Well done team!
We also had an information tent showing lots of alternatives to single use products. And we were showing off 2 bags of our new compost, made on site at our Lawrie Road Recycling Centre.
We are excited to be composting local food and compostable waste at our Community Recycling Centre in Lawrie Rd Snells Beach, turning it into beautiful compost which we'll soon be selling. Thanks to a grant from Auckland Council through the WMIF Fund, we've been able to purchase the equipment we need to set us up to offer this service to those in the community who want to avoid sending their food waste to landfill and who can't compost at home.
We did a trial last year, which was a bit stop/start due to covid. We couldn't operate under levels 4 or 3. So we only really got properly going in Sept/Oct and have only recently had the first batches of compost coming through.
We are delighted to be working with the Matakana Farmers Market which has always been a zero waste market, and they were previously sending their compostables all the way down to Tuakau to be composted at Envirofert. So we are saving all that transport by doing it locally. We are also working with the Sawmill Brewery taking their hops and with Daily Organics Kombucha factory, taking their tea. Since getting the grant we've expanded and are doing a trial with fish skins from the Matakana Smokehouse.
In terms of how it works with the Farmers Market waste, we pick up the compostables which includes food scraps, cardboard plates, serviettes coffee cups etc and put them through a small shredder, then we layer that up in our special Carbon Cycle compost boxes with the correct ratios of carbon-rich and nitrogen-rich materials to create a hot compost (65 degrees) which kills off any pathogens and breaks down the corn starch (PLA) in the coffee cups and lids.
One problem we've had has been with the white compostable forks and knives, as even though it is corn starch, it leaves white flecks in the compost which is not a good look because it looks like plastic. So the market stallholders will change to using wooden or bamboo cutlery. So these are the issues we've been working through in our trial.
Now we will be offering free drop-off at our Recycling Centres for any households wanting to have their food scraps composted. For those buying orange rubbish bags, you'll save money by dropping off your food scraps to us for free, whilst also doing something good for the environment. Food scraps in landfill create methane, a serious greenhouse gas.
We'll be looking into having compost drop off points in other places too, but first we'll have to work out systems for prevention of general waste being dumped into our bins. We'd like to use the Bokashi system to stabilise the food scraps with effective micro organisms so that it ferments and doesn't rot which will mean we can pick up twice weekly and save on transport costs. Watch this space!
We're devoted to zero waste, and have wonderful local, wastebusters like Trish Allen, who will be sharing tips on reducing waste and keeping you up to date with what is happening at our Lawrie and Rustrybrook Road sites.