AOTEAROA SUSTAINABILITY GROUP

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Food Scraps

Food Scrap Services

Auckland Council’s food scraps collection service – Rukenga Kai, which translates to food cast onward – is about to begin with Waitākere residents scheduled to have bins delivered in the first week of April. Other parts of Auckland will follow, through until November this year.

The service will help reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfill by converting rukenga kai (food scraps) into a renewable resource. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The food scraps collection will roll out to over 500,000 households over the coming months in what will be one of the largest rollout of such a service in Australasia.

Food scraps currently make up 45 percent in weight of rubbish collected from the kerbside, equating to approximately 100,000 tonnes of food scraps going to landfill each year. By residents using the food scraps collection, there is potential to prevent large amounts of waste going to landfill and reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the process

Not all food scraps can be easily composted, and this is where the collection is valuable as it takes all sorts of food scraps, including dairy products, meat scraps and bones, fish scraps and bones, and shellfish shells which can’t be composted.

Once collected, the food scraps are transported to Ecogas, a new state-of-the-art plant in Reporoa, and converted into renewable resources. Empty trucks returning from Auckland to the Waikato region are used to transport food scraps to the plant so the collection does not result in additional trips.

Using anaerobic digestion technology, bacteria ‘eat’ the food scraps and break them down into valuable by-products – biogas, renewable energy and fertilizer. Renewable energy in Auckland’s case is used to grow greenhouse tomatoes.

The Ecogas facility is the largest food scraps processing facility in New Zealand and has a 20-year contract to process Auckland’s food scraps.

Each household will receive a kerbside bin, kitchen caddy, compostable bin liners and an information booklet. The food scraps bins will be collected kerbside weekly along with residents’ weekly rubbish collection.

What you can put in your food scraps bin

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps, including peelings, cores, stalks and skin.
  • Bread, pasta and rice.
  • Dairy products.
  • Meat bones and scraps, including fat trimmings.
  • Fish bones and scraps, including shellfish shells.
  • Egg shells.
  • Coffee grounds and tea bags.
  • Indoor cut flowers.
  • Paper towels and tissues.
  • Auckland Council compostable bin liners – for more information, including availability, see Food scraps collection bins.
  • Any type of certified home compostable bin liner.

What you can’t put in your food scraps bin

  • Plastic bags. 
  • Disposable food containers (including compostable items).
  • Food wrapping, including cling film, waxed paper or aluminium foil.  
  • Cloth and clothing. 
  • Nappies and sanitary products. 
  • Pet waste. 
  • Liquids or chemicals. 
  • Cigarette butts. 
  • Soil or rocks. 
  • Garden waste like weeds, lawn clippings or hedge trimmings.

IMPORTANT

Auckland Council can’t accept compostable items like packaging, cups or cutlery because these are not food scraps and therefore you must not put them in the food scraps bin.  

How to place your bins

  • Put your food scraps bin out with the handle up – this locks the lid and prevents spills.
  • Put your food scraps bin out to the side of your wheelie bins (not in front, behind, or between wheelie bins) – leave a large gap between bins so they don’t get knocked over.

Where possible, put rubbish, recycling, and food scraps bins away from power poles, trees, parked cars, other bins, and other obstructions.

How to keep your food scraps bin clean

  • Use a compostable bin liner for your kitchen caddy or wrap your food scraps in newspaper.
  • You can also line your kitchen caddy and kerbside bin with paper bags, newspaper, or a paper towel to soak up any liquid – do not use plastic bags.
  • Store your food scraps in the fridge or freezer.
  • Rinse your kerbside bin regularly to avoid smells.