As one of the largest commercial catering operations in New Zealand, with more than 20 kitchens, SKYCITY Auckland was once generating around one tonne of food waste on a daily basis.
On a mission to amend their ways, SKYCITY set a target of eliminating its food waste to landfill as part of its environment strategy. This was to be achieved in three ways:
• reducing waste in the kitchens
• donating any surplus food to KiwiHarvest
• commercially composting any remaining waste
To manage their third objective, SKYCITY partnered with EnviroNZ, which commercially composts food waste at a state-of-the-art composting facility. Using covered aeration bunkers, food waste is blended with green waste and composted for eight weeks before being screened, matured and sold to kiwifruit orchards and landscape yards in South Auckland.
To ensure the compost is of a high quality, teams across SKYCITY’s kitchens had to change old habits. To help them on their way, EnviroNZ delivered training sessions, new signage, 110 new wheelie bins, 10,000 new compostable bin liners and implemented new collection processes.
Fiona Ruane, SKYCITY Executive Chef – Main Kitchen, says that it didn’t take long for the change to become normal practice across the 11 kitchens she oversees.
“Change isn’t easy, and it was the younger generation that drove this change within the kitchen as they are incredibly conscious of the environment. Their enthusiasm was infectious, and soon enough everyone was using the new green food waste bins, but also finding ways to reduce our food waste altogether. Over the past two years, we’ve donated more than 700kgs of food to KiwiHarvest.”
SKYCITY’s commitment to waste elimination has meant that nearly 500 tonnes of food waste – the equivalent weight of 142 buses – has presently been diverted from landfill to become compost.
Another initiative of theirs is to eliminate single-use plastics.
Working with New Zealand packaging company Ecoware, SKYCITY is transitioning from traditional plastic to commercially compostable food and beverage packaging, such as takeaway coffee cups and lids, straws, plates, containers and cutlery, that is made from rapidly replenishing plant-based material and can be disposed of in food waste bins.
ATEED’s Destination AKL 2025 strategy strongly supports a zero-waste policy for all businesses and major events in Auckland, and SKYCITY Auckland is a leader of this endeavour. It's dedication to resolving their waste problem – and ensuing success – is an inspiration for all, proving that even the worst producers of waste can change their ways.
A zero-waste policy seeks to increase recycling, minimise waste, reduce consumption and ensure that products are made to be reused, repaired or recycled back into nature or the marketplace.
For further details, please visit the website for SKYCITY Entertainment Group.