I’m just back from the Sunday fruit and veg market and, it’s getting hot hot hot. There’s very little wind – an unusual thing in this city and everyone is making the most of it.
I’ve never really logged the amount of plastic being used at the market. Every stall has plastic bags available. They reach for the plastic bags when you present loose produce, so I find it helpful to use my own produce bags. While there are lots of people using their own bags, there are also a huge number using the plastic ones.
Around the country, other markets are working to address this problem – introducing composting or zero waste stations and only allowing compostible food containers or wasable crockery Some also have hire a plate stands or a crockery Library. I think this is a fantastic idea and would love to see it gaining momentum in Wellington.
There are 3 other fruit and veg markets in Wellington city at weekends- Newtown, Thorndon and Victoria Street. In addition to this, the Wellington Night markets run two food markets on Friday night and Saturday night and the craft markets at Frank Kitts Park has food stalls. None of them reference sustainability on their websites. I know individual vendors use composible packaging but if there’s no compost bins it all goes to landfill anyway.
As I mentioned before, there has been a groundswell of movement to get the supermarkets to ban single use plastic bags, but it’s harder for smaller producers. Paper bags aren’t necessarily the answer. I recollect one get wet in the rain and my fruit rolled off down a busy Dublin Street and into the gutter! I am hoping that, as people get used to bringing their own bags to the supermarket they’ll naturally do the same for the other markets.
The composting Stations would need the city council buy in, but if it could be pulled off, so much waste could be saved from landfill every weekend over just these 7 markets. And there would be a massive reduction in plastic used.
An honourable mention does need to go out to two largest annual Fairs- the Thorndon Fair and the Newtown Festival. Both have made huge efforts in the last years to reduce and manage waste with the aim of getting to zero waste. Newtown has actually had an independant audit carried out that showed 69% of Waste was diverted from landfill in 2016. So for 2018, they aim to get this up to 90%
I’ll keep the bag that accosted me earlier and reuse it until it has to go to soft plastics recycling. Now I’m off to enjoy a rare treat of a bacon buttie, as I remembered to go to Island Bay Butchery yesterday!