Zero Waste


We aim to divert 90% of waste from landfill in 2018! Less rubbish means saving natural resources, longer lasting and fewer landfills. Fewer landfills mean better air and water quality for all New Zealanders! 

As regular food vendors will know, each year the Festival, with its Zero Waste policy, has been increasing its efforts to reduce waste to landfill.

Packaging Dos & Don’ts

  • DO bring unbleached (brown) paper napkins. Avoid bleached (white) or coloured napkins as they are not compostable (landfill only).
  • DO let customers use their own containers e.g. keep cups, tupperware.
  • DO serve your food or drink in compostable containers Eg. Sugarcane pulp plates, compostable wooden bowls, bamboo boats. NOTE: Paper plates with a waxy/plastic coating are not recyclable or compostable and go to landfill – see note below about PLA / compostable plastic.
  • DO bring paper/wooden/bamboo straws and cutlery. Avoid plastic or “compostable bioplastic (PLA or CPLA) products (besides coffee cup and lids) as they are unfortunately neither recyclable or compostable in Wellington (landfill only) – see note re PLA below.
  • DO use compostable coffee cups and lids. PLA and PLA-lined coffee cups and lids are now able to be composted in Wellington (but not hard or clear PLA cups – see below).
  • DO use #1 or #2 recyclable plastic containers when compostable versions don’t exist.
  • DO remember to encourage your customers to use the recycling and compost stations at the Fair. Remember to use the stations for your stall waste as well.
  • DON’T use clear bioplastic (PLA) cups or PLA cutlery.  It is advertised as compostable but Wellington’s commercial compost facility (Capital Compost) is not accepting these kinds of PLA currently so it will go into the landfill stream. Go for recyclable #1 plastic cups instead.
  • DON’T use packaging products labelled degradable plastic, biodegradable plastic, or bio-plastic they are not compostable in Wellington or recyclable.
  • DON’T use ‘Mr Chips’ or ‘The Longest Drink in Town’ packaging, they have an oil-based lining and are not recyclable or compostable.
  • DON’T use tin foil and polystyrene – they are not recyclable, please do not bring these products to the Fair, they go straight to the landfill after use.

2017 Street Fair: We were able to divert 70% of waste from landfill last year, largely through use of compostable and recyclable packaging by YOU, our fabulous food vendors. We thank you for coming on board with our efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the biggest street fair in the country and look forward to your help again in 2018.

2016 Street Fair: The waste audit at the Fair Day completed by the Sustainability Trust tells us that in 2016 69% of the Newtown Festival waste was diverted from landfill.

2015 Street Fair: Your contribution enabled our Zero Waste Recycling Team to divert 50% of the waste from landfill and helped set the platform for the 2016 increase in diversion. Back in 2015 our Festival Zero Waste Recycling Team’s sucessful efforts were recognised with a Wellington Airport Community Award.

Onwards and upwards – in 2018, we are aiming for 90% diversion. The Sustainability Trust waste audit advises us that a 90% diversion rate would have been possible in 2016 if all food vendors had used compostable packaging. We know it can be done – a large number of food stalls used these products at the 2017 Fair and got a “totally awesome!” endorsement from the Zero Waste Team.  This was across a wide range of food styles, from curries to gelato. 

Interestingly Wellington City Council is working towards a bylaw that in the future will require waste minimisation at all events in the city. The composting and recycling your stall has been practicing here at Newtown Festival will set you up to be compliant long before this becomes compulsory.

 We appreciate your support and contribution to making Newtown Festival not only colourful and delicious, but also planet-friendly.


We aim to divert 90% of waste from landfill in 2018!  

Food & Beverage Stalls need to use compostable, reusable, or recyclable packing.

Food stalls generate most of the Fair rubbish so we expect all of our food stallholders to use as much compostable packaging as possible – the event zero waste target needs stallholders to use compostable containers, plates, cups, cutlery, and napkins for their food and beverages. If there are no compostable options recyclable is the next best option. Polystyrene is not recyclable, please do not use it to serve your food or drink at Newtown Festival.

On the day please encourage your customers to use the Festival’s recycling and compost stations.

Recyclable packaging, while useful, may not always be recycled if it is dirty, but dirty compostable packaging is easily composted.

Since 2016, PLA (also known as corn starch or “biodegradable plastic”) products have not been accepted from big events by the Wellington City Council’s Capital Compost facility.  These products will go to landfill. Keep reading for better options!

To help the Newtown Festival divert 90% of waste from landfill our Stallholder Terms and Conditions expect all food vendors to use compostable or recyclable packaging. Note that some fairday buyers will have their own cups or plates – please welcome this and serve them!

We encourage you to use Ecoware, our preferred packaging provider, who will offer Newtown Festival stallholders a 20% discount. Ecoware sell wooden cutlery and other fully compostable packaging, here is their brochure and price list. NOTE: all items on this list are acceptable for our compost stations.

When asking Ecoware about a discount its best to contact Harris Ishikawa, their Business Development Manager, by emailing [email protected]  and tell him you are a Newtown Festival stallholder.

Another large source of waste on Fair Day is that produced by stallholders, in your food preparation processes, or in the packaging you use to bring goods to market.

Please either:

  • Take this away with you
  • Take your stallholder waste to one of our 15 Waste Stations and place it in the correct waste stream: compost, mixed recycling (eg plastic, paper and cardboard), glass, landfill as a last resort. There will be a waste station very near your stall.

Note: dumping of mixed waste at our waste stations and stashes has been a big problem in past years; please be part of the solution! Separate your own rubbish at source with separate waste collection containers in your stall.

Please contact the Festival Office if you need help to comply with our packaging policy and Zero Waste goals. Our Festival Zero Waste team are packaging experts and are on-hand to assist and advise on planet-friendly packaging alternatives to suit your needs.

Thank you for your contribution towards making Newtown Festival colourful and delicious, and planet-friendly!