Skip to Main Content

Please Note: This web site makes extensive use of CSS for styling

If you can read this message, it is probably because your browser does not properly support CSS or you have disabled this yourself

Although the content looks better with with CSS 'turned on', this site is perfectly readable either way

One oddity you may notice (with CSS turned off) is the display of text that is intended for PRINTERS ONLY



If it can't be reduced, reused, repaired, rebuilt, refurbished, refinished, resold, recycled or composted then it should be restricted, redesigned or removed from production

Pete Seger

We see terms like saving the planet, biodegradable, natural, sustainable, and compostable incorporated into labels, posters and stickers in pretty much every aisle of our supermarkets, and at stalls at farmers markets, school galas and festivals throughout the land

But what do they mean?

Without legally enforced definitions, the terms are not ony worse than meaningless; they're also ripe for abuse by both marketing agencies with the ethics of a pack of dogs on a croquet lawn and by naïve farmers lacking any real understanding of what is truly beneficial for the environment and/or our health

Saving the Planet

There is no Planet B


Don't throw anything away

There is no 'away'

When you consider that this 'pale blue dot' of a planet is essentially little more than a ball of molten iron, orbiting a tiny star in a rather mundane part of the Universe, and the most significant threat - to the planet - is a collision with a super-massive asteroid, the idea that we can and should be trying to 'save the planet' is a rather farcical

What isn't funny, though, is the threat WE are to our fragile habitat

The global issues arising from pollution, an ever increasing demand for (and wholly inequitable distribution of) resources, exponential population growth, and increased longevity are exacerbating environmental, societal, and economic problems that are (literally) exceedingly complicated

Unless we're content to squander resources and render much of the world uninhabitable for our own and many, many other species, then the time for concerted and coordinated action is NOW

Nobody can do everything

But everybody can do something

You can help by identifying simple (i.e. not intertwined, complicated) issues, prioritising them, and devising and implementing local solutions - with your family, friends, schools, community groups, retailers, business contacts, local council, MP, and like-minded groups


An often heard saying is: If you can't pronounce it, don't eat it

Ingredients of a product found in all Kiwi supermarkets and most homes

interrobang pic of a banana

Water (75%), Sugars (12%) [glucose (48%), fructose (40%), sucrose (2%), maltose (<1%), starch (5%), fibre E460 (3%)], Amino Acids (<1%) [glutamic acid (19%), aspartic acid (16%), histidine (11%), leucine (7%), lysine (5%), phenylalanine (4%), arginine (4%), valine (4%), alanine (4%), serine (4%), glycine (3%), threonine (3%), isoleucine (3%), proline (3%), threonine (3%), isoleucine (3%), proline (3%), tryptophan (1%), cystine (1%), tyrosine (1%), methionine (1%)], Fatty Acids (1%) [palmitoleic acid (30%), omega-6 fatty acid: linoleic acid (14%), omega-3 fatty acid: linolenic acid (8%) , oleic acid (7%), palmitoleic acid (3%), stearic acid (2%), lauric acid (1%), myristic acid (1%), capric acid (<1%), ash (<1%), phytosterols, E515, oxalic acid, E300, E306 (tocopherol), phylloquinone, thiamin], Colours [yellow-orange E101 (riboflavin), yellow-brown E160a], Flavours [3-methylbut-1-yl ethanoate, 2-methylbutyl ethanoate, 2-methylpropan-1-ol, 3-methylbutanal, ethyl hexanoate, ethyl butanoate, pentyl acetate, E1510], Natural ripening agent (ethene gas)


And, as anyone with a tinfoil hat will confirm - without a doubt pun intended - it only takes a few minutes at Google University to prove that eating anything even remotely artificial or synthetic is a recipe for a life of crippling illnesses due to the poisonous toxins - despite it being quite widely known for over 500 years that anything can be toxic; it's the dose that makes the poison

Hope they're enjoying their all-natural aluminium, arsenic, mercury and lead smoothies

What you probably should know about how the global food system operates

RNZ Nights' Bryan Crump interviewing Prof. Kimberly Weir author of From Jicama to Jackfruit: The Global Political Economy of Food
41mins - Originally aired on , Monday 11 August 2014



Although sustainable development sounds like a great idea, real progress towards this goal is agonisingly slow

Talk is cheap

It's time for action

It's all very well catching a biofuel-and-solar-powered hybrid bus to enjoy a picnic in a herbicide-free park, but if equatorial rain forests were clear felled or torched to grow the corn to fuel the bus and/or manufacture your compostable plates, cutlery, cups, and serviettes the orangutans won't be so happy



The term implies that products will break down by biological means - quickly - into safe, naturally occurring compounds that 'belong' in the local environment - nourishing the soil, and providing clean water, without exacerbating climate change

Everything* is biodegradable. Even nuclear waste is biodegradable; if you can wait half a million years, or so

Although the many so-called biodegradable food-packaging products are made exclusively from plant or animal sources, and are broken down by micro-organisms (e.g. fungi or bacteria), the by-products often include methane, a greenhouse gas with 62 times the GWP Methane:
62 times the Global Warming Potential of CO2
of CO2, exacerbating climate change when dumped into landfills

To make matters worse, biodegradable waste may contain toxins - compounds in concentrations so high that they are poisonous for flora and/or fauna

* Everything made from plant, animal, and/or naturally occurring mineral-based products



Made by fermenting dextrose from starch-rich plants (e.g. corn, potatoes, bamboo, etc), PLA products will completely break down into compost within around four to six weeks in an industrial compost facility where the temperature is above 75°C.

Although it takes much, much longer in a regular home compost bin (simply because of the lower temperatures), they will still break down - like unbleached paper - to produce nothing but

  • carbon dioxide
  • non-toxic biomass, which is able to safely nourish the next generation of plant life

  • water

Nelson Foodies - Working Towards Zero Waste


Back in 2008, the questions concerning the environmental sustainability of events were still rather vague, but it was clear that recycling wasn't the answer

It was, however, obvious that one easy, simple way to minimise waste was to insist that suppliers stop selling rubbish

However, after much deliberation, a decision was made to adopt the phrase 'Working Towards Zero Waste, with the word TOWARDS implying that, as there's no magic fairy wand, and re-wiring the habits - formed over decades of ever-increasing consumerism - will take time

Consequently, the 'Terms & Conditions' were amended ever so slightly to state that vendors must

embrace and actively promote the Working Towards Zero Waste approach to catering at events

In 2008, the range, quality, and prices of compostable packaging was a significant hurdle

However, over the years, increased demand worldwide has fostered R&D, with significantly improving results. For example: in 2007, the maximum 'safe' temperature for coffee cups available from suppliers in New Zealand, was a rather tepid 45°110°F This rose to a scalding 100°C212°F in two short years, when the T&Cs were amended to say that food and drink vendors must make

a firm declaration to dispense ONLY compostable catering packaging supplies

Another small step towards zero waste


Nelson City still doesn't have an industrial compost facility

There is a facility in Richmond, though.

But for some busy event organisers - operating on a tight budget - and many residents, the extra few kilometres is yet another hurdle on the way towards zero waste.

Consequently, thousands of tonnes of perfectly good organic material from parks and gardens, and loads of PLA plates, cups, 'glasses', straws, and bowls - bought by well-intentioned people - are going to anaerobic landfills, producing climate-changing methane

Time for Nelson City Council to get with the programme, right?

This page was last updated: August 12 2014
Te ra ake tenei wharangi, i tera ikei runga te 12 o Here-turi-kōkā te tau 2014 te ra

© 2017 - Derby IT - All Rights Reserved