Food scraps and green waste become community assets

Become an Environment Hero by Composting at Home (INL Image)

Praneeta Mahajan

Hamilton, February 28, 2023

Food scraps collected from the kerbside and green waste become a high-nutrient compost, which Hamilton City Council calls Tronpost.

Hamiltonians saved more than 300,000 kgs of food waste from landfill in November 2022, by using food scrap bins introduced by the Council to manage waste more efficiently.
Using a food scraps bin contributes to both nature and the community.

Since the beginning of the new kerbside service in 2020, more than 110 cubic meters of Tronpost have been donated to not-for-profit organisations for use in community gardens.

Fairfield Project Operations Manager Marina Hape (left) with Fairfield Project Manager Tania Ashman at their community garden (Photo Supplied)

Restoring Biodiversity
The Fairfield Project, the latest Tronpost recipient, is a community-led organisation seeking to restore urban biodiversity in Hamilton. It provides educational opportunities for all ages, with a hands-on approach to teaching native restoration, growing one’s own kai (food) and kaitiakitanga (guardianship).
Since 2016, the Organisation has planted more than 20,000 native trees in the Kukutaaruhe Gully, involving more than 2000 people, and created a community garden with about 100 regular gardeners.

A truckload of Hamilton City Council’s Tronpost was delivered to the Fairfield Project recently,  bringing valuable nutrients to the community garden.
The ongoing work of Fairfield Project’s restoration work in the gully contributes to the Council’s Nature in the City Programme, which aims to increase Hamilton’s native vegetation from 2% to 10% by 2050.
The Fairfield Project also has its own community compost facility, funded through the Hamilton City Council’s Waste Minimisation Fund.

Green waste from the community garden, as well as food scraps from local schools and a café, are composted onsite and returned to the soil.

Community workshops
Tania Ashman, a member of The Fairfield Project, runs regular workshops for the community to teach people about composting and how they can do it at home.
She said that using the food scraps bin to turn food waste into compost is a great way for people to lower their carbon footprint, as well as reduce waste in landfill.
Ms Ashman said, “Once people invest in growing their own food, they will be more connected to the entire ecosystem, and they appreciate the value of good compost.”
Keeping food waste from landfill is a priority for the Council. Food waste in landfill is a major contributor to climate change. While it is high in value when it can be composted properly, its value is lost in landfill and becomes toxic.

It decomposes without oxygen and releases methane, a harmful greenhouse gas.
According to Tania Hermann, Hamilton City Council’s Sustainability Resource Recovery Unit Manager, if food waste was a country, it would be third behind the United States and China in emissions.
“We see lots of food waste in Hamilton’s red landfill bins – and even in our yellow recycling bins. It is such a waste when we have smaller green bins for your food waste. Please keep using your kerbside food scraps bin, so that we can continue to make compost and give back to the community. It is a great example of people supporting people,” she said.

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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