XZW Launch Kerbside Collection Service Targeting Household Green Waste

Community waste innovators, Xtreme Zero Waste, are set to launch a kerbside wheelie-bin collection service for green waste - providing a convenient option to those currently carting weeds and garden clippings up to the resource recovery centre for disposal.

“We’re going to offer a wheelie-bin sized service to town residents - the 250 litre ones. It’s for people to put their garden-type weeds and small clippings in - not big branches though,” said Liz Stanway, head of organics at XZW.


(listen to the full interview below:)


Liz says that the upper limit for collection in the wheelie-bins would be “anything that could be cut with secateurs, but not loppers,” because the material would go straight into the horizontal composting unit and needs to be of a certain size to break down easily. 

“One of the reasons we looked at starting this service is because we see a lot of our senior community bring up small amounts of garden waste and little bags of clippings and weeds that they don’t want in their compost heap like oxalis and transcendentia,” said Liz.

Liz explains that the horizontal composting unit at XZW gets up to about 65 degrees celsius so any oxalis, kikuyu, twitch grass and other nasty weeds and seeds (from privet, for example) will be killed off. Home composting doesn’t get to these kinds of temperatures so it’s not appropriate to put weeds into the compost heap in case they continue to cause problems in the garden.

She expects the new service will see bins collected every fortnight on Wednesdays with one half of the Raglan township getting their bins collected one week and the other half having their bins collected the following week. There will be options to sign up to the service for either six months or 12 months.

The garden waste collected will be mixed in with the food waste to create XZW’s Superfood compost, which can be bought from the shop on site. One of Liz’s roles is to get the ‘mix’ just right for the soil mixes so she says she will have to look at the bin pile to adjust the recipe once the service has kicked off, adding that they send their products to be tested at Hill Laboratories to ensure their compost meets standards.

In response to whether compostable packaging can be composted, Liz says that at XZW they don’t want compostable packaging products in their food or green waste because there is no certainty around what the products contain.

“It’s a bit treacherous. Even cardboard can have plastic tape on it and you can get plastic contamination from the tape ending up in the compost. Compostable packaging is fraught with complications at the moment. The stuff that looks like bio-plastics will only break down if you can get it up to 65 degrees,” says Liz.

She goes on to warn that the labelling around these new compostable products can be confusing and doesn’t indicate to consumers exactly what the materials contain, with some even containing plastic. 

“The labelling is poor and people can’t tell the difference, and who is going to be looking at every cup? Most people aren’t scrutinising it.”

There is currently no regulation around the compostable packaging industry and Liz says that these products don’t often add anything to the compost process itself  - maybe a little bit of carbon - and if they contain plastics then this can end up in the food cycle.

“One thing we’ve discovered unfortunately over the past couple of years is that some of the food packaging -  the cardboard, really green looking stuff - contains a chemical called PFAS (a grease and water resistant chemical). 

“They compost down beautifully because they have some fibre in it but if you put it in compost then it ends up in the food chain - and it’s called a ‘forever chemical’ so it doesn’t break down.”

While she says that this chemical is going to be phased out of the products, XZW doesn't put any compostable packaging in their composter and says she is “glad we kept away from that one.”

If you are interested in signing up for the service, head to the XZW website or call into Kaahu’s Nest for more information.

COMING UP: Gardeners of Raglan unite! XZW will be holding a Carbon Compost Drive-Through Day this Saturday, November 26 from 10am to 5pm. Compost will be served up by the digger scoop at a special discounted rate of $15 per scoop You can pre-order in Kaahu’s Nest or online by emailing accounts@xtremezerowaste.org.nz and then show up with your receipt and trailer on Saturday to collect your garden gold!