Waikato Regional Council has secured $134,000 from the Ministry for the Environment to explore practical options to put food and garden waste to best use, and out of landfills.
This vital work will provide essential additional support to Thames Coromandel District Council, Hauraki District Council and other councils, iwi, hapū and marae, and to local community organisations already doing fantastic waste prevention work such as the Seagull Centre in Thames and the Mercury Bay Recovery Centre.
For food and garden waste it’s a mindset change to recognise the value of products like compost. But it also means going a step further to recognise not only the environmental but also the economic and social opportunities – from creating new jobs to providing low-cost, low-carbon products.
Regional councils are required by law to reduce the amount of contaminants that enter our environment. Food scraps and garden waste currently make up around 45 per cent of residential waste being sent to landfill. Therefore, it is imperative we find ways for it to be safely cycled back to the earth as part of an economic system that creates meaningful employment.
The end goal will be to move from a linear system where we take resources, make products, use them once, and throw them away, to one where we design waste out of our processes, keeping materials and products in use.
While previous strategies focused on responsible waste management and waste minimisation, the focus now is to prevent waste altogether through better product and systems design.