Result: Farmers’ Market's huge recycling

Great result: Recycling has hit a huge high at the Hawke's Bay Farmers' Market.

Nearly 100 per cent of the rubbish from the Hawke’s Bay Farmers’ Market is now composted or recycled – a massive success for the teams driving the initiative.

Four months ago a Waste Not initiative was introduced at the market, aimed at reducing the annual 6.5 tonnes of rubbish going to the landfill by 80 per cent. Inside of four months that target had been well and truly beaten, with 90.5 per cent being either composted or recycled.

The Waste Not initiative was inspired by a Zero Waste workshop Hastings District Council held for event managers.

One of the biggest contributors to the success was the changing of all takeaway and tasting packaging to compostable options. On top of that, waste stations with compostable, recycling and general waste slots were introduced, supervised by volunteers from the Hawke’s Bay Environment Centre.

Farmers’ Market manager Emma Glover said the initiative was very much a multi-team effort between the market and its stallholders, Hastings District Council, and the Hawke’s Bay Environment Centre.

“The change has been impressive. Moving to compostable packaging meant the only general rubbish had to be rubbish customers brought into the market themselves, like wet wipes,” said Ms Glover.

Public education also played a big part, with environment centre volunteers ensuring people put their rubbish in the right slots.  “We’ve had fantastic feedback from customers,” said environment centre manager Margaret Burgess. “The public are fascinated that PLA [polylactic acid] packaging is compostable. They want to know what they can and can’t compost at home.”

The market was producing, on average, more than 100kgs of rubbish a week that had to go to the landfill.

Now, after a market, the compostable waste (84 per cent of rubbish) is delivered to composting company BioRich, while the recycling (6.5 per cent) goes to Waste Management.