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Hamilton levels up to save more organic waste from landfills

The opportunity to turn kitchen scraps, paper waste and other organic waste into a rich soil that smells like earth, feels like magic, and acts like super compost was the reason Waste Management decided to partner with Taupō-based MyNoke, the world’s largest worm farming operation.

A large-scale organic waste management programme for businesses is set for launch in Hamilton City next week, utilising MyNoke’s earthworms, nature’s own little eco warriors, to create a top-quality environmentally natural fertiliser and saving tonnes of organic waste from the landfill.  

From November 7, event organisers, accommodation providers, hospitality operators and businesses with on-site cafeterias in the city will be provided with 140 litre Worm Food Bins™ that can be filled with a wide range of organic waste. Food scraps, shredded paper, handtowels, cardboard boxes, non-PLA/PFAS packaging and even wilted flowers from the boardroom or reception area can be placed in the organic wastebins for collection.

Waste Management collects and transports it to a MyNoke earthworm farm, where it is mixed with other organic waste to create the optimum diet for a range of earthworm species. When fed to millions of hungry MyNoke earthworms, and munched on for 6 to 9 months, the end-result is vermicast (worm poop).

The waste is reduced by close to 80% as the earthworms process it into a rich soil conditioner. The product is then sold by in either solid or liquid form to agriculturalists, horticulturalists, and gardeners who return it to the soil.

“The essence of our name MyNoke came from Noke, which means earthworm in Te Reo Māori. An extensive trial was held in 2021 and early 2022 to determine the demand for an organic waste collection service for businesses. It was a huge success, and we are now partnering with expert collection companies in the regions to help businesses both small and large reduce their carbon footprint and divert a wide range of organic wastes from the landfill,” explains MyNoke’s General Manager Phil Holland.

“Waste Management has been extremely supportive to collaborate with MyNoke to deliver this service, and Hamilton was an obvious choice for the pilot as the city is a forerunner in organic waste diversion. HCC already diverts all its wastewater treatment plant sludge to MyNoke. We’re excited about the project starting in Hamilton next week, to be followed by Taupō, Tauranga, Rotorua, Hawke’s Bay, and Dunedin.”

MyNoke currently has three active sites in Tokoroa, Taupo and Ohakune and imminent new sites are planned for Mercer, Dunedin, and Hawke’s Bay. Every vermicomposting site is environmentally managed as an entirely natural process, with no synthetics or chemicals in use.

“To date, MyNoke has diverted over 1.2 million tonnes of waste from landfill. The addition of multiple new farms throughout the country will help steer the initiative to reach its goal of 1 million tonnes diverted per year,” Holland says. 

The MyNoke team also promotes education around soil science and environmental waste impact by speaking at conferences and public events. Clubs, schools, and charities can benefit from MyNoke’s fundraising programme and people who would like to find out more about this innovative operation can join a public tour at one of the MyNoke worm farms.

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