Managing Food Waste on Aotea

Instead of kerbside collection of food waste, on Aotea we are encouraged and supported to find alternative solutions with a better outcome. Our community is a creative one and below are just some of the options on Aotea to reduce food waste.

Makes sense but not always easy to plan ahead. Having ways to store food for a long time is really useful too eg. bottling, freezing, dehydrating. The benefits include saving money and reducing resources use producing, packaging and transporting food that wont be eaten.

Chitchat, pātaka kai or food pantries, the St Johns Church food bank and market days are all great options for sharing surplus. Pātaka kai or community pantries are at Mulberry Grove School, Medlands Community Gardens, Anamata and Okiwi School.

Sharing suitable left over food with your or a friend or neighbours is an option for many. Anamata accepts old grains to feed to meal worms which are offered to Karen Walker our bird rescuer to feed rescued birds.

Food mines the soil it grows on or in for nutrients and minerals, so it makes sense to return food scraps to the soil to replenish it again. Compost also helps soil to retain water and so reduces water use. Using composted food scraps to nourish the soil to grow more food is a great way to support the environment. If you don’t compost or garden yourself, giving to a neighbour or friend is an option for some; the Sharewaste website is a great way to find people willing to take accept food scraps. Medlands Community Gardens and MulberryGrove School accept some food scraps for composting (check their requirements before dropping off) and Anamata accepts all food scraps for composting.

Bokashi bins are another option for managing certain food scraps and returning to your garden soil with minimal smell.

A Greencone in ground biodigester can be a great option if you do not compost, or if you are concerned about compost bins attracting rodents or pigs, etc, or smelling. A Greencone biodigester can also take food scraps you may not wish to put into your compost bin eg meat, dairy products. It is important to put it in a sunny, easily accessible spot, with reasonable drainage. You wont get compost but you may get enriched soil adjacent to your Greencone to grow plants in.

Anamata has received WMIF funding to subsidise the cost of 20 of these to the community so if you are interested, pop in to Anamata or go to for more info.

If food scraps are put out with the rubbish, they are sent to an Auckland landfill on the
Sealink boat, mixed with other waste and potentially smelling bad. In the landfill, because of a lack of oxygen, food scraps release toxic methane gas and any goodness that could have been returned to the soil is lost.

Words and images by Anamata, our Resource & Recycling Centre