Food for thought: Reducing Bellyful’s footprint

Many Bellyful volunteers are concerned about the environment and wondering how we can become more environmentally sustainable.

We’re beginning a thorough look at how we can be more sustainable in everything we do.

One obvious way Bellyful can make a difference would be replacing our plastic food containers with a compostable solution.

We have very specific needs – our containers must also be freezable, microwavable, robust, stackable, able to hold a sticker, low-cost and food safe.

Does this technology even exist? That’s what we need to find out.

Other areas of concern are recycling, reusing or reducing the packaging of meal ingredients, and the fuel used driving cars to make deliveries.

We are launching an environmental sustainability project, led by our Volunteer and Operations Manager Wendy Thompson (pictured) and Bellyful Karori Cookathon Coordinator Andrea Holmes. The first step is to undertake an environmental baseline audit of our Cookathon to delivery process, to establish where we are at and what we can do better. We hope to have some solid answers by the end of 2020.

In the meantime, we are looking at how we can encourage meal recipients to reuse the plastic containers we provide – and send them for recycling if their council allows.

Our current containers are made of Polypropylene, or ‘plastic 5’, which can be recycled into other products. Currently 44 of New Zealand’s 67 councils accept it for recycling.

The recent report from WasteMINZ “The Truth about Plastic Recycling in Aotearoa New Zealand 2020” says recyclers and councils are beginning to explore how this plastic can be separated out and baled for recycling.

The government is supporting this, with measures including a $40 million Provincial Growth Fund investment to turn plastic waste into useful material for businesses and consumers.

If you are passionate about the environment and are interested in taking part in our environmental sustainability project or have examples from your Branch of how you are addressing sustainability at your Cookathons, we’d love your help. Please email

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