Mar­ket goes clean and green

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By JESS LEE

Char­lotte Gor­don is wag­ing war on waste.

The Grey Lynn Farm­ers Mar­ket man­ager and a team of vol­un­teers are lead­ing the way to serve up New Zealand’s first zero waste farm­ers mar­ket.

Most of the mar­ket’s 30 stall­hold­ers have al­ready jumped on board the ecofriendly band­wagon by re­duc­ing or re­mov­ing all of their stall’s waste which was find­ing its way onto land­fill sites.

This month the mar­ket is mark­ing its new zero waste sta­tus by host­ing a se­ries of events in­clud­ing a com­post­ing work­shop and a zero waste cook­ing class.

Only biodegrad­able cof­fee and juice cups are now be­ing used which are added to a com­post pile along with all of the mar­ket’s or­ganic waste and taken away by lo­cal com­pany We Com­post.

Ms Gor­don is a keen com­poster her­self and says the mar­ket and its zero waste ini­tia­tive are community driven projects.

‘‘That’s why I think this mar­ket is quite spe­cial,’’ she says.

‘‘We are seek­ing cre­ative so­lu­tions to com­bat our grow­ing rub­bish prob­lem.

‘‘I’m hop­ing it will in­spire peo­ple to get think­ing about waste in dif­fer­ent ways. It’s about mak­ing peo­ple pos­i­tive and cre­ative rather than telling them they’ve got to stop do­ing stuff.’’

The project started life with the mar­ket’s pop­u­lar ‘bring it back’ de­pot, where items such as egg car­tons, glass jars and take­away con­tain­ers can be dropped off by one shop­per to be reused by some­one else.

A ‘‘grab a bag’’ bin now al­lows shop­pers to drop off their ex­cess plas­tic bags for oth­ers to re­use as well.

And any­one with a back­yard sur­plus can sell their pro­duce at the community trad­ing ta­ble.

‘‘This is a big cel­e­bra­tion of be­ing zero waste and what that means, but this isn’t some­thing just for this month – we’re go­ing to stick by this,’’ Ms Gor­don says.

Veg­etable and straw­berry stall­holder Ge­orge Vezich is firmly be­hind the mar­ket’s zero waste ini­tia­tive and has cleaned up his stall’s act.

The fresh-pro­duce grower has swapped plas­tic bags for pa­per ones, is bundling veg­eta­bles with re-us­able rub­ber bands and is pack­ag­ing his straw­ber­ries in card­board boxes rather than plas­tic.

Mr Vezich’s eco-friendly ef­forts mean he must now fork out more for the al­ter­na­tive ma­te­ri­als but he is com­mit­ted to mak­ing the change.

‘‘I’ve al­ways hated us­ing plas­tic,’’ he says.

‘‘When you see with your own eyes the af­fects of plas­tic and other rub­bish get­ting into the oceans and the en­vi­ron­ment it makes you want to change,’’ Mr Vezich says.

The mar­ket runs from 9am to 12.30pm ev­ery Sun­day at the Grey Lynn Community Cen­tre, 510 Rich­mond Rd.

This Sun­day a free com­post­ing course will give an in­tro­duc­tion to ba­sic com­post­ing sys­tems which can be used in the home and gar­den.

Par­tic­i­pants re­ceive a $46 voucher to­wards a com­post­ing sys­tem.

Photo: JESS LEE

Eco-friendly: Char­lotte Gor­don and the Grey Lynn Farm­ers Mar­ket are cre­at­ing New Zealand’s first zero waste farm­ers mar­ket.

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