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NZ’s Spark Arena rolls out zero-waste strategy

All cups, cutlery, napkins, straws and more at Spark Arena are now compostable, as the Auckland venue seeks to completely eliminate non-recyclable waste

By IQ on 12 Sep 2018

Spark Arena staff with the new compostable serveware

Spark Arena staff with the new compostable serveware

Auckland’s Spark Arena has switched to 100% compostable serveware for public events, replacing all single-use cups and hot food packaging with compostable plant-based alternatives.

The switch, which forms part of the 12,000-capacity venue’s new ‘zero-waste strategy’, will see all compostable waste, which now includes cups, lids, straws, cutlery, napkins, food containers and food waste, delivered directly to local composting plant Envirofert, where it will be turned into compost.

Spark Arena hosts more than 500,000 eventgoers, using over a million disposable cups, annually, and arena design strategist Judith Clumpas explains that when the lights go up at the end of the show, the mixture of rubbish left over has proved “almost impossible” to sort through.

This cross-contamination of recyclable material, combined with the ongoing recycling crisis in New Zealand, means it “made absolute sense to make a change,” says Clumpas. “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.”

“It’s a great start, and I’m looking forward to seeing a positive shift across the events industry in the years ahead”

“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,” she continues.

The only exceptions are snack packets and lolly and ice-cream wrappers, which are not yet compostable, although arena bosses hope they will be by stage two of the zero-waste programme.

“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”, says Brendan Hines, the arena’s GM.

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

Spark Arena, known as Vector Arena prior to the start of last year, has been operated by Live Nation since August 2015.


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