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Spark Arena implements zero waste strategy

Auckland’s Spark Arena has announced that it has switched to 100 per cent compostable serve ware for public events held at the venue.

The 12,000-seat arena recently implemented stage one of its Zero Waste Strategy, with all single-use cups and hot food packaging having been replaced with carefully-sourced plant-based alternatives.

As part of the initiative, compostable waste, which covers cups, lids, straws, cutlery, napkins, food boxes and food waste, will be delivered directly to Envirofert, a specialist local composting plant. From there, the waste will be transformed into quality compost within three months.

Spark Arena said that well over a million disposable cups are used at the venue each year, with the arena attracting over 500,000 customers annually. The arena has switched to compostable serve ware after a substantial proportion of its recyclable material ended up in landfill.

Spark Arena design strategist Judith Clumpas said: “It made absolute sense to make a change. If you could see the volume of mess that is left after a concert, you would be truly horrified to realise just how much ends up in landfill.

“Designing a robust new system for waste management at Spark Arena has included sourcing ethical products from reputable local suppliers Innocent Packaging and Ecoware, creating bespoke bins with Method to promote behavioural change, and working closely with environmentally focused companies Green Gorilla and Envirofert to ensure products are disposed of in the right way.”

All plastic, glass and tin recycling will now be kept behind the bars at the arena, with customers only having compostable products in their hands. The arena said the “unfortunate exception” of the new initiative is lolly bags, snack packets and ice cream wrappers, which should still be placed in landfill bins to avoid contaminating compost material.

Brendan Hines, general manager of Spark Arena, said: “People come to Spark Arena for a good time, and I see it as our responsibility not only to deliver a great experience, but to go further by doing the right thing as a good host.”

Hines added: “It’s a great start, and I’m looking forward to seeing a positive shift across the events industry in the years ahead. I see more changes ahead, but we are taking it one step at a time and trying to get it right.”

Image: Georgianixon21