News | 27 April 2022
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Para Kai trial results provide food for thought

Results from Wellington City Council’s Para Kai trial show kerbside collections reduced food waste going to Southern Landfill by almost 40 percent – now Council is investigating what this means for the wider city.

Miramar resident Ashley, wearing sunglasses, crouching behind her vegetable garden with another planter box and a white house behind her.
Para Kai trial Ashleigh with her garden and worm farm

Para Kai was launched on the Miramar Peninsula in September 2020 with 500 households trialling a weekly kerbside food waste collection service, while another 450 households were composting their food waste in either a compost bin, worm farm, or bokashi system.


Senior Waste Planner Stephanie Steadman says the trial aimed to help Council understand how much food waste can be stopped from going to landfill, and the best methods for doing this. 


“It has also given us insight into what people thought were the good, and the not so good, parts of the experience. One important lesson is that we’ll need to consider how we can provide food waste bins robust enough to survive the onslaught of Wellington’s wind!


“We gathered information through a rubbish audit of participating households before the trial began, and again during the trial to provide a comparison. We also conducted two surveys to understand participant’s perceptions of the success of the trial and a willingness to pay for a food waste collection service going forward.”


The rubbish audit indicated that kerbside collection is the most effective method, with an average reduction in food waste going to landfill of 38.8 percent per household. Home composting participants showed an average reduction of 16.4 percent per household, with the compost bin being the most effective method.

A young boy in a green sweatshirt, next to his sister in a white t-shirt, and their parents huddled together holding a black Bokashi bin with green lid, standing in front of green bush and trees.
Para Kai trial participant Fiona and family with their Bokashi bin.

The survey highlighted participants thought the trial was a good idea, with at least four in five respondents indicating they would continue to use the system if the trial continued. 


The trial also highlighted some issues to consider for the future as some participants had concerns around smells and attracting rodents, while others felt clearer information was needed to help them select the best system for their household.


Waste Strategy Manager Emma Richardson says the trial findings will inform the Council’s next steps in tackling food waste disposal issues, and will help with modelling for future initiatives.


“We’ve committed to reduce the amount of waste going to the Southern Landfill by a third by 2026 and finding a solution for food waste will be a key part of this. We are currently undertaking a review of our kerbside services, which will help us to identify future waste servicing options which will reduce commercial and household waste in Wellington City.


“The Ministry for the Environment has indicated that food waste collection is likely to be mandatory before 2030. Later this year we’ll start a feasibility study into a community resource recovery facility, which will include organics processing. The Para Kai trial was possible because it was small-scale, but we’ll need to establish an organics processing plant in the region before we can roll out food waste collections citywide.”