Potato plates are serving up to be the answer in managing the amount of waste produced at Auckland festivals.
The biodegradable potato plates helped to achieve 91% diversion from waste being taken to landfill at the Waitangi Day concert at Okahu Bay in Auckland. Approximately 25,000 people attended the celebration.
New Zealand company Potatopak has also supplied plates at the Pasifika festival at Western Springs Park and the four day Taste of Auckland Food Festival at the Ellerslie Race Course this year.
Ngati Whatua o Orakei’s resource manager Ngarimu Blair believes that the potato plates helped to reduce the amount of waste that was sent to landfill from the Pasifika this year.
“Potato plates are good; we’ve seen them break down in our worm farms. If we didn’t use the potato plates etc, that would likely mean we’d have one tonne less composted and one tonne more to go to landfill,” said Mr Blair.
The Auckland managing director of Potatopak Kevin Graham said that the sales of potato plates are up 22 percent on last year.
Mr Graham believes that the increase in sales and use of the plates at festivals is due to the growing increase of interest into renewable resources and sustainability.
“Living on a finite planet means we cannot take, plunder, produce and consume; then dump and pollute forever. Cradle to cradle rather than cradle to the grave.”
Mr Blair comments that the reduction in waste transported to landfill from the festivals makes the plates a favourable option at future festivals.
“There are other products on the market claiming to be biodegradable like the ones used at the Diwali festival. However you need complex composting systems (as) I’ve heard such products are not breaking down.”
The potato plates are made from potato starch collected during the processing and cleaning of potatoes that are being made into other food items.
On average the potato plates take four weeks to fully decompose in a compost bin. In a worm farm they will be eaten within a few days.
Potatopak plans to commercialise a waterproof compostable version of potato plates that is suitable for long-term storage packing and presentation of meat and fish.