Worm money for council


8 September 2014


The Bay of Plenty Regional Council has awarded the Rotorua District Council $4165 for a scheme to boost worm farms. The move may come as a bitter pill for some in the community after the RDC earlier rejected a vermicasting options in favour of its controversial Terax plant.


The district council was one of six groups in the region awarded funding under a newly-launched fund the regional council says will help make the most of the region’s waste resources.


In May, this year, the Rotorua District Council rejected a vermicasting sewage sludge process in favour of the TERAX system when looking at new solid waste disposal options.


The BOP Regional Council statement says:


The Waste Resource Advisory Group (WRAG), administered by Bay of Plenty Regional Council, launched the $50,000 fund in June to help promote waste initiatives from Bay of Plenty-based businesses, industry, councils or community groups.


The six successful projects include construction waste collection and re-sale, a food rescue project, organic waste diversion from cafes, waste education workshops, a marae-based zero waste project and community worm farming.

Chair of the Regional Council’s Regional Direction and Delivery Committee Paula Thompson said 13 organisations and individuals had applied for more than $160,000 in funding, and WRAG had spread the available funding across as many projects as it could.


“We wanted the money to be spread across the greatest number of projects, so we boosted the fund by a small amount, and with some savings here and there we can now fund six projects,” she said.


The projects being funded are: 


  • Community Resources Whakatane ($15,000) – setting up a construction waste and demolition waste collection service, purchasing a trailer to take around building sites. Waste will be sorted into re-useable items and sold at their yard.

  • Good Neighbour Aotearoa Trust ($15,000) – Tauranga Food Rescue began in February, collecting waste food from supermarkets and food stores. The group plans to provide 257,000 meals a year from ‘rescued’ food and distribute them to community groups and the Tauranga Food Bank. Their funding will be used to employ professional staff to grow the volunteer-staffed organisation’s work.

  • Tauranga City Council’s organic waste diversion project ($12,000) – a collection system for used coffee grounds from cafes to be composted. This will divert an estimated three tonnes of coffee ground waste from each cafe each year, saving businesses disposal costs, space in landfills and creating a high-quality coffee compost which can be on-sold as soil conditioner.

  • Gourmet Night Market ($4165) – funding waste education facilitators to provide public education workshops at Gourmet Night Market events over the summer months in Mt Maunganui. The aim is to influence waste behaviour change both at public events and in the home.

  • Para Kore – Zero Waste on Marae ($4165) – region wide, Para Kore will use WRAG funding to purchase a trailer to transfer and deliver waste minimisation bins and tools to marae around the region, reducing the large amount of compostable and recyclable waste that is disposed of tolandfill after hui and events.

  • Rotorua District Council ($4165) – Community worm farming workshops, providing participants with all they need to set up their own worm farms, creating home compost and reducing food waste to landfill.


“The contestable fund was designed to promote the region’s Waste and Resource Efficiency Strategy’s actions and initiatives. This includes fostering collaboration and partnerships, improving data and information management, increasing resource efficiency and beneficial reuse, reducing the harmful impacts of waste and stimulating research and innovation while reducing waste to landfill,” Ms Thompson said.


“We were delighted with the number and quality of the applications, which show there are some great ideas out in the community to make the most of what would otherwise be waste.”

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