Huka Honey Hive’s waste diversion efforts are worth buzzing about
A local Taupō business is working towards a level of waste minimisation as golden as the honey it sells.
Huka Honey Hive has been involved with the Resource Wise Business Programme, operated by Taupō District Council, since September 2022 and is working through a four-stage journey of waste minimisation.
Currently sitting on gold status, it is diverting a commendable 84 percent of its waste from landfill via composting, recycling, and changing some suppliers.
The programme is free and focuses on behaviour change within a business through education and support to reduce waste to landfill.
When the business started the programme it was sending around 924kg, or 67 percent of its total waste, to landfill per year. Over the course of the programme and by implementing new practices, the team has reduced its total waste to landfill to 456kg per year. That’s a 51 percent decrease in waste to landfill between September and March.
Taupō District Council waste minimisation officer Shannon Hanson says Huka Honey Hive, which celebrates its 30th birthday this month, is a great example of a business that has been able to make a huge environmental impact, with a few additions to the great work it was already doing.
“Before their first waste audit, it was already doing a good job at recycling, composting staff food scraps, sourcing environmentally friendly products, and recycling soft plastics.
“Through the programme, we have been able to identify new ways to reduce waste such as the implementation of reusable drinking cups for customers, removing paper towel dispensers, switching to reusable rags for cleaning, switching to recyclable sample cups, composting all wooden tasting sticks and spoons onsite and labelling customer facing recycling bins.”
Business owner Jo Saville says while the team was already passionate about reducing waste and sustainable practices, the programme inspired them to find new ways to further reduce and divert waste.
“Regardless of where you are on your sustainability journey, the programme encourages you to reassess and review your practices.
“The waste audits showed our team in black and white the kind of waste we were sending to landfill and made it easy to identify areas that we could work on.
“We enjoyed the structured nature of the programme, with timelines to work towards, combined with the support we received from our coordinator Shannon.
“It’s very hands-on and became quite addictive actually - to see and implement positive change in our business, we felt really motivated to do better,” Jo says.
Huka Honey Hive’s efforts go much further than just waste minimisation though. It also takes measures to reduce its carbon footprint by sourcing more than 80 percent of its products from family-owned New Zealand businesses with locally produced products, and sponsoring Greening Taupō who plant more than 40,000 native plants each year.
“We are all about supporting New Zealand businesses and aligning ourselves with businesses that hold the same values as us.
“We source products that are delivered and displayed in environmentally friendly packaging wherever possible.
“What’s more, we have since incorporated sustainability and environmental awareness into the very heart of our company, our business practices and even our recruitment process.
“We really want to attract staff that are equally passionate about the environment and fully embrace the work that we are doing in this space.”
Jo encourages other businesses to get involved in the programme and see what measures they could take to further reduce the amount of waste they send to landfill.
“We believe that sustainability is a journey, not a destination. As business owners we need to continually make changes to the way we operate, and every little change counts.”
As part of the Resource Wise Business Programme your business will have annual waste audits and receive a detailed waste report, with tailored actions and support to engage your team in behaviour change. Participants also receive an achievement level to promote their waste reduction performance.
Visit taupo.govt.nz/wasteminimisation to find out more or email the Taupō District Council resource wise business coordinator Shannon Hanson at email@example.com.