When compost becomes currency

2 September 2014

Heading out for brunch this weekend? Your compost can become currency, as businesses in Auckland collaborate to provide goods and services in exchange for compostable food waste.

From 6-7 September, Aucklanders can leave their wallets at home and exchange a bag of food scraps for goods such as coffee beans, muffins and t-shirts, thanks to an initiative by Auckland organic waste collection business, We Compost.

In a bid to promote mindful composting by Auckland residents and business owners, and to encourage them to think twice before throwing out food scraps, We Compost, with support from Auckland Council, is hosting Auckland’s first We Compost Weekend.

More than 35 local businesses are supporting the event, including Kokako Café, Little Bird Organics, and Z Energy. Official We Compost Weekend bags can be collected from participating outlets, filled with food waste and exchanged for a variety of rewards.

Steve Rickerby, Managing Director of We Compost, is calling for Aucklanders to think twice before they throw their organic scraps into the rubbish bin.

“The equivalent of 1,866,664 trailer loads of organic waste is sent to landfill every year, costing approximately $77 million per year,” he says.

“Organic waste is not waste at all: it can be turned into a useful resource by composting. We Compost provides a collection service for businesses that are unable to compost on-site, so it can be recovered for beneficial reuse as a natural, high quality addition to soil,” he says.

The We Compost Weekend is an opportunity for Aucklanders to think about their food scraps not as waste, but as something of value that can be traded.

By creating value for the waste, we hope that the public will reconsider binning their food scraps. It’s a small step in our aim to help save the planet – one banana peel, apple core and coffee grind at a time,” he says.

With 1.4 million tonnes of waste sent to landfill every year, Auckland Council is focusing on getting Auckland’s rubbish sorted.

“This project is a great example of the kind of innovation we want to support, to ensure people are being educated about reducing their waste, and rewarded for doing the right thing,” says Auckland Council Solid Waste Manager Ian Stupple.

To find out where to get a We Compost Weekend collection bag, and to learn about the supporting businesses and what they are offering visit the We Compost website, or visit the We Compost Facebook page.

Click here to watch the We Compost Weekend teaser video.

The Sustainable Business Network has a work stream on Restoring New Zealand’s Food System. To get involved or find out more, please contact us.

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