Waste trial praised
Around 40 tonnes of kitchen scraps have been collected in just the first six months of the Putaruru food waste trial. Instead of heading to landfill, Putaruru residents’ leftovers, bones, tea- bags and perishables past their use-by date have been diverted to commercial compost production in the horticultural sector.
The Putaruru food waste trial is a joint initiative between South Waikato District Council and Earthcare Environmental.
It follows a 2010 cost- benefit analysis of New Zealand household organic waste undertaken by Eunomia Research which showed that diverting household food waste from landfill could result in an average of over $20 million a year in social, economic and environmental benefits for the country.
The study found that key to achieving benefits of this magnitude was the separation of food waste from green waste rather than mixing them together. While dedicated food waste collection is increasingly common overseas, it is not currently undertaken here.
The 12-month trial was launched in April when all 1400 households in the Putaruru township received a vented kitchen caddy with a supply of compostable bin liners and a larger, lockable bin for storage and weekly kerbside collection.
‘‘The results to date have been extremely encouraging,’’ South Waikato District Mayor Neil Sinclair said. Around two-thirds of residents are participating in the initiative.
In addition to reducing the weight of kitchen waste in the general household collection by some 43 per cent there has been a noticeable increase in the volume of other recycling.
Earthcare Environmental managing director Mike Jones said: ‘‘Putaruru’s total household rubbish going to landfill has already decreased by some 25 per cent.’’
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