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