Coffee grinds, food scraps and even compostable cups will be put to good use, with the airport expanding its landside food waste composting scheme

The food waste is collected and sent to Tuakau-based Envirofert, where it is repurposed as 100% organic compost used by fruit and vegetable growers in Pukekohe, Waikato and the Bay of Plenty as well as kiwifruit orchards on the East Cape.

“Food organics and single-use packaging are some of the biggest contributors of our waste to landfill from within our terminals, so composting is an important addition to our waste diversion programme and wider efforts to reduce waste right across the airport,” said Auckland Airport chief sustainability and master planning officer Mary-Liz Tuck.

Food waste collection started in the domestic terminal late last year and has grown to include food waste from six F&B operator kitchens and the public eating areas inside and outside the food court. The collection has seen 13.5 tonnes of organic waste diverted from landfill over the last three months.

Airport workers Asmin Yusuff (L) and Moerangi Manaia (R
Airport workers Asmin Yusuff (L) and Moerangi Manaia (R Auckland Airport

Now, with the recent addition of food waste collection from kitchens and back-of-house areas supporting the eight landside food and beverage businesses in the international terminal, Auckland is expected to at least double its current volume of food waste away from landfill.

The airport’s composting programme is expected to be extended to the food court and public dining areas at the international terminal next year.

Disposable cups supplied within the terminals are also required to be commercially compostable.

“As well as separating food waste, we are developing new initiatives that will pave the way for continued waste reduction, which is also particularly important in terms of protecting New Zealand’s biosecurity.

“We’ve made a strong start to this journey, and we are really encouraged by the positive engagement from our retailers and partners as we take steps as an airport community to keep adapting to better, long-term sustainable business practices,” Tuck concluded.

The airport’s compost bins are clearly labelled 
The airport’s compost bins are clearly labelled  Auckland Airport