Our Wellington

News | 4 May 2021

Composting ‘just makes total sense’

Food waste makes up about a third of domestic rubbish going to Poneke’s Southern Landfill. This comes at a huge cost to Wellingtonians and the environment.

To help find a city-wide solution to combat the issue, Wellington City Council is running Para Kai Miramar, a year-long initiative which sees 450 households on the Miramar Peninsula trial one of three different composting methods.

We checked in with Brad, of Seatoun, to find out how he was getting on with his compost bin.

Brad from Seatoun, standing in his blue t-shirt, leaning against his black compost bin, surrounded by a tall flax bush and trees.

Through the Seatoun tunnel and around the corner on a hill with a view, Brad and his whānau are putting their leftovers and more into their compost bin.

“It’s pretty straight forward. We just dump the food scraps in and every once in a while we give it some water or some grounds from the coffee machine and mix it up.

“Time and heat does the work, then whenever I need to do some planting or want to refresh the garden I use the compost on everything from fruit trees to native bush.”

Originally from Chicago in the US, Brad says he’s always been a fan of composting, but living in a coastal suburb, it is really a no brainer.

The nutrient-rich compost has hugely improved the quality of his sandy Seatoun soil, which “needs to get a good base” to ensure planting is successful.

His garden has benefited, especially his fruit trees, including figs, peaches, plums, nectarines, lemons, and limes.

Everything from meal leftovers and paper napkins to broken-down cardboard boxes and green waste can go into the compost bin.

“We’re putting out less waste and buying less compost so it’s a win-win,” Brad says.

“Reducing the amount of space needed for landfills is important but the main thing is to cut down on greenhouse gases.

“Once you figure out how composting can work for your household, it just makes total sense.”

For the Para Kai project, we liaised closely with Predator Free Wellington. The compost bins are sealed with mouse/rat-proof mesh on the bottom, and have a tight-fitting lid.

Kerbside collection

In addition to the backyard composters, Council is trialling a kerbside collection of binned food scraps from 500 households on the Miramar Peninsula. The collected food waste is delivered to the Capital Compost facility at the Southern Landfill and turned into compost.

Preliminary results show that participating households are diverting an average of 3 kilograms of food waste per week from landfill, with an estimated total of about 16,442kg diverted since Para Kai launched in mid-October 2020.

The results from the Para Kai trial will be used to inform a city-wide solution for food waste. Find out more about the Miramar Peninsula Para Kai trial.