The Kaitaia Markets were recently provided new bins to collect food waste, compostable packaging and recyclables.
The bins were paid for thanks to a special sustainability grant given to a local charity to help prevent waste from the market going into landfill.
The Far North Environment Centre received $9500 from The Packaging Forum to pay for the bins as part of its Plastic Free Kaitāia initiative.
Plastic Free Kaitāia co-ordinator Waikarere Gregory said the group managed to collect two 60-litre bags of compostable material at one market alone.
"It's been a great success and we've managed to reduce waste in the council landfill bins by up to 75 per cent each week," Gregory said.
"The compostable material collected from the market goes towards creating compost by KaitāiaCycle, which is a collaboration between Good Life Projects and CBEC Ecosolutions and Earthcare."
The centre identified the need for bins after running a trial at the markets and finding a strong zero-waste contingent, with most stalls using compostable or recyclable packaging.
The trial also found many members of the public were keen to reduce waste to landfill, but a lack of bins meant compostable or recyclable material was going in general rubbish bins.
"We're also going to work with stallholders to help them move towards better packaging options that can be either recycled or composted, and ideally work towards a reusable system," Gregory said.
The centre took a total zero-waste approach to the project, using reusable bin liners made out of old shower curtains, flags and material sewn by local group Anō Anō Clothing Rescue.
Gregory said on some days she also used an e-bike and trailer to transport their gear to and from the markets.
The Packaging Forum CEO Rob Langford said it also supplied the centre with a bin stand and signage from one of its stakeholders, the Litter Less Recycling More project.
He said this was to help make the bins more visible and to prevent them toppling in high winds.
"We thought this was a great project, not only does it keep recyclable and compostable material out of landfill, but it helps educate the public about putting waste in the right bins," he said.
"It also teaches them about not just choosing landfill as the default option."