Tackling Foodservice Waste with Compost Connect

A new composting network has launched in New Zealand, an online platform that connects foodservice businesses with industrial composters.

Backed by restaurateur Nic Watt, the network aims to reduce part of the 157,389 tonnes of food waste created by New Zealand each year, the weight of 271 jumbo jets[1].

Compost Connect is a timely service – July 1, 2021, New Zealand’s municipal waste levies will double to $20 per tonne (and will increase six-fold by 2025).

Watt has grave concerns for the future of New Zealand and is imploring others in the hospitality sector to join Compost Connect and divert waste from landfill and dispose of it in a more ethical way.

Watt is a Compost Connect member at his waterside restaurant, Akarana Eatery.

“It is frightening to think about how much waste the foodservice industry creates, and how much of that is going straight to landfill. We owe it to our children, and their children, to do the right thing – and it’s not difficult to dispose of compostable waste responsibly,” he said.

A not-for-profit organisation developed by sustainable packaging manufacturer BioPak, Compost Connect connects businesses to composters and compostable packaging and provides access to products, services and information that allows them to participate in the circular and regenerative platform.

“Akarana Eatery has a majestic view of Auckland’s Waitematā Harbour, we showcase quality New Zealand products and so taking responsibility of our waste process helps ensure we are doing our bit to protect this beautiful environment, we definitely take ethical choices and sustainability very seriously,” Watt continued.

“It is far better for the planet that we pay to convert organic waste into compost, than pay to fill the country’s landfills. Our industry prides itself on the food we serve, so we need to be proud of how we minimise the impact of waste and hold ourselves accountable for that process.”

Akarana Eatery has one 240L bin of compostable waste collected each week. In a year that would amount to 4,160kg of waste that would be diverted from landfill, which would become 2,912kg of compost.

“Compost Connect allows patrons to find restaurants that value ethical choices, and any food service provider can sign up, irrespective of what brand of compostable, single-use packaging they use. This initiative is going to change how the foodservice industry operates for the good of our country.”

The website features a map showing Compost Connect members and council composting statuses, and there are plans to add Compost Connect Collection Points in the future.

In its infancy in New Zealand, Compost Connect has compost partners operating in Auckland, Whanganui, Nelson and Christchurch, with a national paper cup compost collection. It has already attracted high-profile and high-volume clients including Kelly Tarlton’s, Revive Cafes, Massey University’s Albany campus, as well as Auckland Girls Grammar and a collection of other schools serviced by DeeJays’ Food in Schools Programme.

“We need to instigate widespread change throughout the foodservice industry. It’s time that businesses come together to create a circular and sustainable economy. We believe that this network can help achieve this vision,” noted Compost Connect board member and BioPak CEO, Gary Smith.

Compost Connect FAQs - what goes in the green bin?

You can place any type of food scrap, leftover, spoiled or out of date food into your organics as well as certified commercially compostable packaging. This includes:

  • BioPak certified compostable products
  • Fruit and vegetable peels and scraps
  • Meat and seafood scraps and bones
  • Egg shells
  • Dairy products (cheese, yoghurt etc.)
  • Bread, pasta, rice, cereal
  • Coffee grounds & chaff, tea bags
  • Out of date food (processed or fresh)
[1] https://lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz/food-waste/what-we-waste/