Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Auckland Council food scraps program to service 500,000 residents

Auckland Council’s food scraps collection service is set to roll out to around half a million households over the coming months, the Council has announced.

The service, one of the largest of its kind in Australasia, will first roll out to Waitākere residents, who are scheduled to have bins delivered this week. Other parts of Tāmaki Makaurau will follow, through to November this year, the Council said.

It says the service will help reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfill by converting rukenga kai (food scraps) into a renewable resource. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

General Manager Waste Solutions, Parul Sood said Council’s food scraps journey started 11 years ago with the adoption of Auckland’s first waste plan, which stated the Council would introduce a kerbside organic collection as part of our zero waste by 2040 vision.  

“Many studies, economic analyses, pilot projects, procurements, and negotiations later we are finally ready to launch our food scraps service. I want to sincerely thank all the Waste Solutions staff, both past and present, who have persisted throughout this journey,” Mr Sood says.

“I also want to thank our elected members, past and present, who have supported this work and have been patient with the delays.”

Once up and running, it is estimated the service will collect around 40,000 tonnes of food scraps per year. This diversion from landfill and carbon emissions savings is equivalent to taking 10,000 medium-sized cars off the road annually, the Council says.

Project delivery manager and sponsor of the initiative, Terry Coe, says the collection service weaves together numerous different elements and teams.

“In Waste Solutions you’ve got one team who oversees the waste minimisation plan and getting all the approvals through, and another team that works on contracts and compliance, customer enhancement and community engagement. There’s even a team on the ground looking after multi-unit developments to work out the best solution for each of them,” he says.

“We also need to acknowledge the Digital team, Marketing and Communications, Customer Services, Procurement, Commercial, Finance and Legal and the Targeted Rates team because the service is paid for by targeted rates.

“All the teams working on this are amazing and I’d especially like to acknowledge Sarah Nicholls, Waste Solutions Senior Programme Manager, who is coordinating the whole rollout. There’s a massive amount of work behind the scenes.”

Food scraps currently make up 45% in weight of rubbish collected from Auckland’s kerbsides, equating to approximately 100,000 tonnes of food scraps going to landfill each year. By residents using the food scraps collection, there is the potential to prevent large amounts of waste going to landfill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Council says.

The collection will help Council reach its Zero Waste 2040 target and the emission reduction goals of Te Tāruke-ā-Tāwhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan.

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