Manawatu¯ hospitality providers are being encouraged to think greener as two former nurses open Feilding’s first fully commercially compostable cafe.
Tania Chamberlain and Chrystal Kurtis hung up the stethoscope to open their dream venture Blended Cafe last week in Fergusson St.
The cafe’s cups, burger boxes and bags - made from plants and plant waste - take only four days to break down and the duo urged consumers to start seeking other environment-friendly cafes.
‘‘People need to be asking about packaging when they go to a cafe,’’ Kurtis said.
‘‘This has to be driven by the consumer.
‘‘What world would my son live in if we all keep using cups that take 20 years to compost?’’
An agreement between Labour and the Greens last month saw a commitment to making a reduction in all types of waste going to landfill, within the next two years.
Kiwi households annually send around 2.5 million tonnes of waste to landfill each year, including around 350,000 tonnes of packaging, according to figures from recycle.co.nz.
Manawatu¯ District Council recycling officer David McMillan was unsure if any other cafes in Feilding used commercially compostable packaging, but recommended they followed Blended Cafe’s footsteps.
Petroleum-based plastic packaging used by several food outlets could not be recycled and was dumped in landfills, McMillan said.
Because compostable packaging was able to degrade into harmless elements no animals would be endangered due to littering.
While there was limited infrastructure in New Zealand to compost packaging commercially, McMillan said the council was working on an emerging scheme to deal with more compostable material.
‘‘Council is all about reducing waste to landfill so if a product can be recycled via the council-provided recycling wheelie bin collection or composting, then we are here to assist.’’
Chamberlain said while the cost of eco-friendly packaging drove prices up slightly, the duo wanted to use their health background.
‘‘Is it costing the consumer or is it costing the environment? You have to ask how packaging is affecting the environment.
‘‘It’s scary - people are either going to take it or not. But if we [opened a cafe] we wanted it to sit right with us.’’
One cafe in town had stopped by to look at some samples and get information, Chamberlain said.
‘‘They just didn’t really know where to start.’’
Blended Cafe are using commercially compostable packaging. Owners Chrystal Kurtis, left, and Tania Chamberlain.