Over the past three years Council has run two trials focused on reducing the amount of waste produced from events like Sparks, the South Island Lantern Festival, and the South Island Wine and Food Festival.

infograpgic of resultsThese trials have involved getting food vendors at the events to use only Council–approved compostable food packaging.

Over the course of the two trials, 99 tonnes of waste was diverted away from landfill and into other waste streams.

This is 73% of all event waste from events that had an estimated 905,000 attendees.

If you have any questions or would like more information about composting food packaging at events please contact Rachel.Dunford@ccc.govt.nz 



Infographic showing the 61% of waste bing recycledThe first trial took place across three large public events in February 2017. The three events included two Council-produced public events - Sparks and Christchurch Lantern Festival - and one partnership trial event with Christchurch Night Noodle Markets.

Before this initiative, all waste from events was most likely sent to landfill. There was no composting stream available citywide for events and even if there were yellow bins at an event, the recycling was too contaminated to be accepted unless hand sorted.

The three events had an estimated 190,000 attendees between them and diverted 12 tonnes of waste – which amounted to a total of 61% of all the waste generated from the three trial events.

Composting Food Packaging at Events (CFPE)  - Trial 1.0 summary [PDF, 1.1 MB]

Donut chart showing 75% recycling waste divertedAfter a successful first trial, the Council then extended the range of compostable food packaging to four suppliers, increasing the range of packaging for the food vendors.

We also went from three events to 43 Council and non-Council events between April 2017 to May 2019. The Council worked hard to assist and advise events on how to participate in the composting food packaging guidelines.

All of the organic compostable food packaging products at these events were hand-sorted and sent to the Living Earth composting facility.

In total this trial diverted 87 tonnes from landfill to compost and recycling, which was 75% of the total waste from these events.

Composting Food Packaging at Events (CFPE) - Trial 2.0 summary [PDF, 941 KB]

Composting Food Packaging at Events (CFPE) - Food vendor: Approved packaging manual [PDF, 592 KB]

Fireworks above recycling binsPartway through trial two Council made the decision to take on a sustainability partner as a full provider of both infrastructure and waste sorting services at our events.

Total Waste Solutions (external link)came on board and were responsible for all aspects of composting food packaging at Council events as well as a number of other events.

They have also invested in purpose-built infrastructure to support composting food packaging at events, helping the initiative to not only be environmentally sustainable but also economically sustainable for both Council-produced and other major events taking place in Christchurch. 

Row of binsThe Composting Food Packaging at Events (CFPE) initiative has been viewed as a success by food vendors, event organisers and the wider public. This has changed the landscape of how we produce events in our city.

The Composting Food Packaging at Events (CFPE) initiative is growing rapidly. More and more events internally and externally want to participate and now facilities and other communities in Christchurch are also wanting to make more sustainable choices.

Council is now working on how the initiative will be made permanently available to events going forward. 

Child putting recycling into the binAlthough approved composting food packaging for events can be purchased by the public, they must still go in your red bin at home.

The use of these products at events is in a controlled, managed event situation. If they go in your green bin, we have no way to distinguish these products from the unacceptable compostable or biodegradable products and risks having your bin stickered or not collected.

Currently, only events participating in Composting Food Packaging at Events (CFPE) initiative can commercially compost their event waste (food and packaging) in Christchurch. 

More information about compostable and biodegradable packaging.