Waste is a growing problem in New Zealand and Auckland restaurateur Nic Watts thinks we need to tackle it head-on.
"157,000 tonnes of food waste are produced in NZ each year," he says. "That equates to the weight of 271 jumbo jets of food waste."
Watt believes food waste can be better put to use by converting it into compost rather than dumping it into landfill for economic as well as environmental reasons.
"From July, landfill levies are doubling and they're likely to go up six-fold by 2025. So why pay to have your organic matter to be put into landfill when you should be paying to have it turned into organic compost?" he said.
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Compost Direct is a new online platform that connects foodservice businesses with industrial composters. The not-for-profit organisation was developed by sustainable packaging manufacturer BioPak, connecting businesses to composters and compostable packaging, and provides access to products, services and information.
"It is far better for the planet that we pay to convert organic waste into compost, than pay to fill the country's landfills," says Watt, owner of the Akarana Eatery, Masu and Inca. "Our industry prides itself on the food we serve, so we need to be proud of how we minimise the impact of waste and hold ourselves accountable for that process."
Watt's waterfront restuaraunt, Akarana Eatery has produced more than 1400 tonnes of food waste in the first six months since opening. The waste is converted into compost that is then used in gardens at the restaurant for growing herbs and edible flowers.
"That's something we're really proud of, we're really passionate about and it does the full circle," Watt says.