Currently many organic materials are being treated as waste, which represents a significant lost opportunity for New Zealand. The beneficial use of these potentially valuable resources is becoming increasingly important over time, particularly when considered in the context of the Waste Minimisation Act and the New Zealand ETS. There are a broad range of beneficial uses available for organic materials including energy production, soil amendment and stock feed, all of which have their own specific challenges and requirements.

Sector Group Chair George Fietje says “For some time WasteMINZ and a number of its industry members have been giving strong consideration to how we can make real and potent progress in this area. After much discussion it was decided that we needed a broad focus that looks at the whole organic waste stream, which makes up some 50% of domestic waste. A waste stream this significant requires a sound and focussed approach, alongside broad support from our industry”.

Following a full day workshop in early August with a broad range of WasteMINZ members the Organic Materials sector group was formed. The workshop identified that rather than promoting specific practices or technologies, it was important to take a high level view of the sector.

A vision for the group was developed, which is:

  • To minimise the generation of residual organic materials, and to
  • Maximise the value of residual organic materials, ensuring their beneficial reuse

From this three focus areas were also identified, these being:

  • Prevention: Minimising the amount of residual organic material generated in the first place (both in private homes and the commercial sector)
  • Market development: To look at the full range of potential uses for these resources and to gain a better understanding of the challenges and requirements of each
  • Strategy development: To develop a cohesive strategy which will guide sector activity

At the workshop an interim steering committee was also appointed. The members of this committee are:

George Fietje (Chair)Living Earth
Parul SoodAuckland Council
Darren HoskinsWellington City Council
Mike JonesEarthcare Environmental and Greenfingers
Terry AtkinsonBio Cosmo Technologies
Graham JonesEnviroWaste Services
Chris PurchasSKM
John Cocks (WasteMINZ Board representative)MWH

“The steering committee’s role is to provide leadership and governance to the sector group to allow the development of a cohesive strategy which guides our future actions” said Mr Fietje adding that he also saw “communicating effectively with WasteMINZ members and the industry at large as central to our future success”.

The Organic Materials sector group, replaces the Compost New Zealand sector group. As with all WasteMINZ Sector Groups, any WasteMINZ member has the opportunity to be involved. Mr Fietje said “I’d encourage anyone who’s passionate about valuing organic materials and ensuring we maximise their beneficial reuse, register their interest”.

Members who’d like to get involved should contact Nic Quilty, WasteMINZ Sector Group Coordinator.