Spark Arena's compostables policy cuts landfill waste in half

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Spark Arena’s Zero Waste Strategy rolled out to coincide with the record-breaking P!NK concerts, replacing single use cups and hot food containers with carefully sourced compostable serve ware.

Now the six concerts have wrapped and the numbers are in, Spark Arena Design Strategist Judith Clumpas says that the strategy is working, with landfill tonnage reduced by more than half compared to similar recent concerts, and the bulk of event waste is already in the process of being transformed into compost destined for New Zealand’s farms and orchards.

The switch from single use plastics to compostable ware, including all cups, lids, straws, cutlery, napkins, food boxes as well as food waste, has already seen 109 cubic metres of concert waste, which includes 120,000 cups and 12,000 hot food boxes, delivered directly to Tuakau’s commercial composting facility, Envirofert, where the composting process takes just three months.

“We are absolutely delighted with the result - not only is cleanup way simpler and quicker than usual, but we are seeing drastically reduced contamination in our recycling too,” Clumpas says.

“The response from the public has been great. We’ve had to convince a few members of the public that the cups are actually made of corn starch, but overall it has been overwhelmingly positive to the point that our staff have even had to fend off hugs from a few people!”

The arena has experienced a measurable reduction in landfill waste of approximately 60% across the P!nk concerts as compared to recent events of this type. It is projected that Spark Arena’s landfill waste will be reduced by at least 33 tonnes in the coming 12 months.

Says Spark Arena General Manager Brendan Hines, “We are keen to see that figure improve as we continue to roll out the next stages of our Zero Waste Strategy at the Cher concerts this weekend and over the busy run of shows ahead.”

Key Information:

120,000 corn starch (PLA) cups and 12,000 hot food boxes were sent to Envirofert via Green Gorilla, a volume of 109 cubic metres.

Waste sent to landfill reduced to approximately 60% of previous weight per show - from 1.8 tonnes from a recent similar-sized concert to 0.7 tonnes average across each P!NK show.

Landfill waste has been reduced from an average of approx. 163gm to 59gm per customer, compared to similar recent concerts at the venue.

Venue staff have been taking care of recycling behind the scenes, and the elimination of plastic cup use has seen 30% reduction in recycling volumes, and a dramatic improvement in contamination levels, which sees less diverted to landfill.

Compostable serve ware, including corn starch (PLA) cups and wheat straw and paper packaging has been supplied by local businesses Innocent Packaging and Ecoware.

For more information, visit: www.sparkarena.co.nz

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