Local cafés and food retailers are getting on board with a Green Scheme that helps them reduce their waste and carbon footprint.
Estefania Muller Pallares (Stef), who runs the Green Scheme for Hibiscus Coast Zero Waste, says around eight cafés, as well as a fish and chip shop and fruit and vegetable retailers, are already noticing good results, with thousands of kilos of waste diverted from landfill.
Business Whangaparāoa is a partner in the scheme. Its business and project manager, Sarah Carr, says the project informs, educates and assists many different kinds of companies with specific issues they face as they strive to do more for the environment.
One aspect of the scheme that is working well for hospitality businesses is the chance to join City to Farm, which takes food waste to a farm in Waitoki where it is used for soil improvement and banana growing.
Businesses put their food waste in a bokashi bin, which is collected regularly by volunteers.
Café Manly joined City to Farm just 18 months ago and has already diverted 4000kg of waste from landfill, Stef says. “Providing those statistics to business owners puts a smile on their faces and shows them the benefits of what they are doing.”
The scheme also offers waste audits, and advice on things such as reducing plastic and single use packaging.
“Speaking to cafés, we found some were going through up to 400 single use coffee cups a week,” Stef says.
She says another issue is preventing food unsold at the end of the day from being wasted. Some of it goes to local food rescue charity Love Soup and a food rescue app, called Foodprint, is also proving popular –it allows cafés to list unsold food for sale at bargain prices, so both the business and customer benefit.
“A lot of the Green Scheme work is not only good for the planet, but good for the bank balance too.”
An event will be held later this month to further publicise this work.