Auckland Council’s central city staff began working towards the council’s goal to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill by 30 per cent. The organic waste generated by the staff in their Graham Street building was processed in an installation of hungry bins, before they were moved to the council's HQ in Albert Street. This simple action resulted in a 25 per cent reduction in waste from the site that would otherwise have gone to landfill.
The sustainability champions at Graham Street, which housed around 500 staff, led the initiative by encouraging staff to separate waste and put food scraps, tea bags and coffee grounds in the kitchen tidy bins. They also regularly collected the nutrient-rich worm tea and castings –great compost for the garden. About four litres of worm tea were produced every couple of weeks and each hungry bin produced around 10 litres of prime compost every six months.
Having the hungry bins at the office got everyone thinking about how they could contribute to a better environment, observed the council staff involved with the initiative. They commented that the bins reduced the amount of waste the building send to landfill, showing the region it's possible to achieve waste minimisation goals with some really simple and effective change.
Hungry bins have been installed in many other council properties across the region including civic buildings, some libraries and community facilities. Business and Facilities Sustainability Project Leader at the time, Andrew Walters says the hungry bins were just one of a suite of initiatives rolled out to help reduce waste, save energy and ultimately save money.
“This is about us walking the talk so to speak and the worm bin experience and the other initiatives have shown that just doing a little thing can make a big difference. The great thing about the hungry bin is that it is a modular system and so we can easily add more capacity if we need to.”