1 Nov 2022

New sustainability initiatives are being trialled at next week's New Zealand Agricultural Show as organisers work to reduce the amount of waste generated by the popular town-meets-country event.

The Show's general manager Tracy Ahern says she is hoping the trial of the new initiatives will drastically reduce the amount of waste produced and lead to more changes In the future.

“At the moment we’re working with our waste minimisation experts to review our current practices. We’re spending a lot of time talking with key stakeholders to better understand their thoughts and requirements so that we can support them to minimise and divert waste from landfill.

"We’re also looking at what events in other regions are doing to see if we can learn from their experiences,'' says Ms Ahern.

One of the initiatives being trialled this year is using fine woodchips for stable bedding instead of straw through the year.

The 110 tonnes of straw that still needs to be used during The Show is usually removed off-site afterwards and composted, but Ms Ahern is keen to complete a feasibility study to determine if this can be composted on-site and used throughout the year on the park.

Other sustainability measures include:

  • Mobile Hydration Stations and reusable cups to reduce single use plastic water bottles.
  • Recycled timber from the Old Grandstand is being used for park maintenance such as planter boxes, seating at the wood chopping area, and posts for signs. 
  • Free public transport promoted to get to and from the Show - buses arranged to transfer people from Eastgate, Hornby and Riccarton at 9am, 10am & 11am, returning midday, 1pm and 2pm (for full details visit The Show).
  • Hundreds of secure bike racks are being installed at the NZ Agricultural Park.
  • Changing from paper to digital platforms, such as a mobile friendly website and online event competitions and activity timetables
  • Active food recovery effort, with any excess meals to be donated to the City Mission.

Ms Ahern says they have partnered with advisors Nestlé and Sustainably to undertake a waste system assessment of The Show, which will gather information before, during and after the event.

The findings will identify opportunities for minimising and diverting waste from landfill.

Nestlé is well on its sustainability journey, with a 2030 ambition of zero environmental impact in operations, and to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

At The Show, it will provide two best practice waste stations where educational bin ambassadors will help people put the right things into the right bins. The Show will support this initiative with a back-of-house waste sorting area where the waste from these bin stations gets a final check to make sure there’s no contamination before leaving site. 

“This is a great opportunity for The Show to gain insights into effectively managing event waste as we hope to increase the presence of best practice bin stations at future events,” Ms Ahern says.

The Show is on from 9 to 11 November.