About Z

When finding worms in your pies is a good thing

13/11/2014 - Sustainability news

Gerri Ward

One of Z’s meatiest sustainability goals (we love a good pun!) is to reduce the waste going to landfill from our service stations by 70% by 2015.

In getting after this goal, the first thing we did was implement recycling across the Z service station network. We now have recycling across all of our own operations, as well as public recycling bins on 103 of our forecourts.

A baseline survey in 2012 showed that up to a third of the contents in our skip bins, by weight, was food waste.

A food waste pick-up service is a fairly new and evolving service, and generally only available in more urban centres, and our neighbourhood sites with friendly local pig farmers are happy to keep donating their unsold food (apart from the bacon and egg pies!) to them. But what to do with the unsold pies and sandwiches, and coffee grounds we were throwing away every year?

Steve Rickerby chucked in his job at an insurance company in 2008, and set up We Compost; a network of businesses in Auckland keen to send their food waste to a credible composting facility. Steve started out with one bin on the back of a ute, and now collects more than 500 bins (9 tonnes) of organic waste a week, and delivers it to the EnviroFert facility in Tuakau, where it is turned into organic compost products that are sold to horticultural growers and pastoral farmers to improve the quality and condition of their crops. So far, this year alone, we estimate Z sites have diverted 342 tonnes of food waste from landfill, partly with We Compost’s help.

Z started having our food waste picked up by Steve at 21 retail sites in Auckland and Hamilton, before he decided to consolidate to the Auckland region, where business is booming.

“Partnering with Z gave us a huge boost at a time when we really needed it,” says Steve. “The Z sites increased our collection density in certain areas and helped us justify a push out west. To be able to casually drop into conversation with prospective customers that we collect from around 20 Z sites gives us a huge amount of credibility and has helped to normalise the idea of a 'third' bin. I like to think that the sort of people who go to the cafes we collect from are the sort of people who buy their fuel from Z. So, it is also an important aspect to our positioning in the market and I hope working with us does the same for the Z brand!”

Thanks in large part to a successful partnership with the likes of We Compost, and Kai to Compost in Wellington, we’re now tracking at nearly 85% of the way towards our waste reduction target; and this despite the network growing from 204 stations in 2012 to 213 stations today.