Compost helps to break down costs at Trevelyan’s

9 December 2014

Trevelyan’s is increasing the amount of waste it diverts from landfill, with the trial of a new composting system.

A compost trial carried out at Trevelyan’s 20 hectare Te Puke site saw almost 50 tandem trailers of garden waste and 500 bins of production waste turned into an estimated 30 tonnes of compost during this year’s kiwifruit packing season.

The continued development of the recycling hub has meant more than 350 bales of waste have also been diverted from landfill so far this year.

Trevelyan’s sustainability coordinator, Rachel Brodie, says the compost trial involved Trevelyan’s grounds staff developing a closed-loop solution for packhouse and garden waste, which has been implemented over the past 12 months.

“Previously we trucked this waste to landfill or burnt it. But turning it into compost on site and spreading it over our gardens, lawns and orchards reduces our contribution to leachate and methane from landfills, as well as carbon emissions.

“This is important because to be a truly sustainable business we need greater control over external factors such as increases in waste disposal levies and transport costs,” she says.

The compost trial (developed in consultation with BioGro and Kiwifruit Vine Health) is ongoing, with avocado waste and kiwifruit flower waste now also being processed.

Collaborations with other local service providers for turning and spreading the compost have also contributed to the success of the project.

Meanwhile, Trevelyan’s recycling hub continues to save the company a significant sum of money. Waste to landfill expenses have fallen 90 per cent since cardboard and general purpose compacting machines were installed on site in 2010 and 2012.

More than 200 bales of cardboard have been recycled so far this year, along with 43 bales of shrink wrap and trayliner plastics, six bales of ‘plix’ plastic trays, 11 bales of strapping, 17 kiwifruit bins of bubble wrap and 88 bales of fruit label paper tailings.

“This reduces our environmental impact and also reduces heavy traffic on our site, as we can store the bales of recyclable waste until there’s enough to fill a whole truck,” Rachel says.

Trevelyan’s executive director, Alister Hawkey, says the results will further enhance the company’s fast-growing reputation for being a leader in sustainable business practice within the kiwifruit and avocado industries.

Alister says the company’s sustainability experience is sought by researchers and academics overseas. The company has recently contributed to studies at Auckland University and Aalto University in Finland, as well as a Zespri project on changes to industry carbon emissions.

“We’re excited to keep innovating and improving our environmental, social, governance and economic performance. Our ultimate goal is to produce zero waste and be carbon and water neutral. We hope other businesses will follow our lead so we can all enjoy a sustainable future,” he says.