Auckland Council has rolled out thousands of food-scrap bins in its campaign to get food out of the rubbish.
The average household rubbish bag or bin is almost half filled with food waste. Each year, Auckland households send about 90,000 tonnes of food scraps to landfills.
A new food scraps collection service has began for about 18,000 properties in Papakura.
The households have 23-litre food waste bins to go alongside their recycling bins and rubbish bags. They also received 6-litre kitchen caddies to collect the food scraps.
Auckland Council general manager waste solutions Ian Stupple said about 25 tonnes of food scraps were being collected each week from Papakura.
"That 25 tonnes a week was previously going to landfill," he said.
The food scraps collection service will be available to all households in urban Auckland, about 490,000, from 2020/21.
Stupple said the average Auckland household rubbish bag or bin contains about 45 per cent food waste, 10 per cent green waste and 10 per cent recyclables, with the remaining actual rubbish.
"When organic waste goes to landfill it is a waste of resources and we are missing out on the valuable nutrients which can be turned into compost and soil additives, which in turn feed the same agricultural soils that feed us," he said.
"In addition, organic material in landfill produces methane which contributes to climate change and is over 20 times more potent than CO2. A food scraps processing plant can capture all of this methane and turn [it] into energy and fuel for vehicles and plant."
Market testing is underway to identify the type of food scraps processing plant that will be used and potential suppliers that could provide this service. Compost created would reduce running costs.
The council encouraged residents to compost and had a number of schemes in place to support this.
"However research indicates that a lot of people can't or have not got the opportunity to compost, so the food scraps service gives everyone the opportunity to reduce their waste and do their bit for the environment," Stupple said.
"The service will benefit every Aucklander in time, either from the convenience of using the service themselves or from the wider environmental benefits."
Research released in 2017 showed Kiwis wasted $1.8 billion on food every year.
The leading contributor to food waste – 55 per cent – was food going off before being eaten. Some 15 per cent was found to be from unfinished food on our plates and 7 per cent was of food not tasting as good as expected.
An average 16.8 per cent of New Zealand household spending goes towards food.