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.

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, 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.

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 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.

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. They do also sell  PLA products but this list only has the items acceptable for our compost stations.

When asking Ecoware about a discount its best to contact Luke Wishnowsky, their National Sales Manager, by email  and tell him you are a Newtown Festival stallholder. Ecoware have options for almost all food packaging needs at a comparable price so there should be no excuse not to come on board!


  • Do bring unbleached (brown) paper napkins. Bleached (white) or coloured napkins are not compostable (landfill only),
  • Do bring paper/wooden/bamboo straws and cutlery. Plastic ones are not recyclable (landfill only),
  • Do serve your food or drink in compostable containers (or let customers use their own containers).
  • Do use recyclable plastic containers when compostable versions don’t exist.
  • Do remember to encourage your customers to use the re-cycling and compost stations at the Fair
  • Don’t use PLA (bioplastic) packaging. It is advertised as compostable but this only works in small quantities, Capital Compost cannot process PLA in large event quantities and will not accept it so if PLA is used on Fair day it will end up in the landfill.
  • Don’t use packaging products labelled degradable, biodegradable, or bio-plastic, they are not compostable or recyclable.
  • Don’t use ‘Mr Chips’, ‘The Longest Drink in Town’ and coffee cups not marked compostable  – they have an oil-based lining and are not recyclable.
  • 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.


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.

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 !