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Commercial Composting in New Zealand and Christchurch in Particular.

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Where can commercially compostable packaging be processed in New Zealand?

Most compostable coffee cups and packaging can only be composted in commercial composting facilities. This is because the compost pile needs to reach a temperature of 55 degrees or higher to break down these items, which almost all home composting systems don’t achieve.

There are nine industrial facilities in New Zealand and three community facilities that currently accept compostable packaging. Compostable packaging is not accepted in council kerbside food waste collections or privately provided greenwaste collection bins. In most cases, a waste company must be used to collect and transport compostable packaging to a composting facility.  NO compostable packaging can be put in the Green Kerbside bins.

CLICK HERE for more information


Facility: Christchurch City Council Organics Processing Plant – Operated by Living Earth

Address: 40 Metro Place Bromley


Region Served: Christchurch

Plastic free compostable serviceware (e.g. bagasse, card) that has been pre-approved by the site operator is accepted.  This must be transported to site via an approved waste collection provider and must have a pre-sort to remove contamination before reaching site. Click here for more information.

No compostable packaging or food service waste can be placed in the Christchurch green kerbside collection bins. Click here for more information.

Acceptance criteria:

In general, Living Earth will accept ‘compostable packaging’

  • made of wood or wood pulp or bagasse such as cardboard packaging,
  • or cutlery made of wood or bamboo.

Living Earth will not accept ‘compostable packaging’ that is:

  • made of plastic e.g. poly lactic acid (PLA) such as plates, cutlery and cups;
  • has plastic as a partial component or is labelled as bio-oxy-degradable plastic
  • or packaging that is contaminated with human bio-solids such as disposable nappies.

Where standards exist ‘compostable packaging’ must be certified under the European Standard EN13432 or the Australian standard AS4736, which is the European Standard plus an earthworm toxicity test.

Any compostable packaging must be pre-approved by the site operator. Pre-approval can be gained via an approved waste company (see below).

Living Earth reserve the right to reject any packaging that is presented as ‘compostable packaging’, even if certified under these standards, if found to be detrimental in any way to the Living Earth composting methods, or to Living Earth compost products.


Living Earth will accept delivery of compostable packaging via approved waste companies only provided a pre -sort has been completed to remove contamination.

The following companies are Living Earth approved contractors

o            Waste Management NZ Ltd

o            EnviroNZ

o            Total Waste Solutions (Quickskips)

o            WasteCo


The Living Earth composting process can be viewed here.