Love Food Hate Waste at Wesley Market

“What do you do with the rotten food?” a student from Westmere School asked. Christmas is around the corner and tonnes of food have been reportedly thrown away after the festivities. Food waste makes up around 40% of the average household rubbish bin or bags in Auckland. It is a major concern that we take seriously. Waste Minimisation is a big part of the Wesley Market and the Auckland Council. With the help and support of Mt Albert Grammar School and EcoMatters Environmental Trust, we have working towards creating a zero-waste market by 2020.

Food Waste

Recently Auckland Council launched the “Love Food Hate Waste” campaign, delivered by WasteMINZ in conjunction with 59 councils and community groups around New Zealand. Here at the Wesley Market, we go through about 2000L of food waste every Market Day, that’s a whopping 200,000L of food waste a year! Fruit and vegetables that are rotten or usually go to bin are picked up by the Farm Manager from Mt Albert Grammar School every market day and will be used to feed the pigs and cows on site. Many of the food waste the market generates are still edible and this could create precious resources. Food waste is costs the average household $563 a year and food waste from the market is not only expensive for producer and retailers. For market organisers, food waste is very expensive to dispose, costing more than $25,000 a year! It is also environmentally unfriendly; food waste releases harmful greenhouse gasses in the landfill, and instead of creating more food that puts additional pressure on the environment as animal feed, what could be better than giving all the fruit and vegetable waste to the farm as animal feed?

Landfill Waste

To achieve the Zero-Waste initiative, EcoMatters Environmental Trust was contracted to sort out waste on-site identify all waste that could be recycled or composted, and provide education to stallholders and customers on-site, hoping that this could influence them to think about their waste solutions outside of the Wesley Market. We generate approximately 1000L of waste every market day, a whopping 100,00L of waste going to the landfill; much of these could be sorted and recycled. Many of the rubbish found in the market range from cardboard, recyclable containers, or soft plastic (such as plastic bags) that can be recycled. With the help of EcoMatters, the landfill waste has dropped to less than 100L every market day, a tenth of what we would usual collect.

Why this is important

Waste management has been one of the biggest concerns for Auckland Council and neighbours living nearby. It encourages illegal dumping, increase number of pest sightings, it pollutes the longest urban stream on the Auckland isthmus, Oakley Creek Te Auaunga, an important taonga for Auckland. Protecting the environment so children can play and feel connected is very important to the Puketapapa Local Board. The community sees that keeping the Oakley Creek clean and protected is a high priority. Ensuring that community is educated on pollution and spills prevention is also highlighted as an important outcome for the Puketapapa Local Board. The work ensures that people living in Mt Roskill, stallholders and customers of the Market, can live a healthy and happier life.

What can we do with the left overs

Visit https://lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz/ for ideas on how to reduce waste and tackle leftovers. More importantly, review your shopping habits. Create a shopping list, keep to it, and shop only as frequently as you need. The Wesley Market is opened twice a week and you can always make a special order if you need any produce for a party or an event.