Working Towards a Sustainable Future

Working Towards a Sustainable Future

 Tue, 1st Nov, 2022

Trialling a new series of initiatives this year and looking at how to make further changes in the future.

In a bid to reduce the amount of waste it produces, the New Zealand Agricultural Show is trialling a new series of initiatives this year and looking at how to make further changes in the future.

A staunch environmentalist, general manager Tracy Ahern hopes to drastically reduce the amount of waste produced at The Show.

“At the moment we’re working with our waste minimisation experts to review our current practices.

“We’re spending a lot of time talking with key stakeholders to better understand their thoughts and requirements so that we can support them to minimise and divert waste from landfill. We’re also looking at what events in other regions are doing to see if we can learn from their experiences.”

There are a variety of initiatives underway including using fine woodchips for stable bedding instead of straw throughout the year. The 110 tonnes of straw that still needs to be used during The Show is usually removed off-site afterwards and composted but Ahern is keen to complete a feasibility study to determine if this can be composted on-site and used throughout the year on the park. 

Other sustainability measures underway this year include:

  • Mobile Hydration Stations and reusable cups to reduce single use plastic water bottles 
  • Recycled timber from the Old Grandstand is being used for park maintenance such as planter boxes, seating at the wood chopping area, and posts for signs 
  • Free public transport promoted to get to and from the Show - buses arranged to transfer people from Eastgate, Hornby and Riccarton at 9am, 10am & 11am, returning midday, 1pm and 2pm (for full details visit
  • Hundreds of secure bike racks are being installed at the Canterbury Agricultural Park
  • Changing from paper to digital platforms, such as a mobile friendly website and online event competitions and activity timetables
  • Active food recovery effort, with any excess meals to be donated to the City Mission.

Ahern says they have partnered with advisors Nestlé and Sustainably to undertake a Waste System Assessment of The Show which will gather information before, during and after the event. Their findings will identify opportunities for minimising and diverting waste from landfill.

Nestlé is well on its sustainability journey, with a 2030 ambition of zero environmental impact in operations, and to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.

At The Show, it will provide two best practice waste stations where educational bin ambassadors will help people put the right things into the right bins. The Show will support this initiative with a back-of-house waste sorting area where the waste from these bin stations gets a final check to make sure there’s no contamination before leaving site.  

“This is a great opportunity for The Show to gain insights into effectively managing event waste as we hope to increase the presence of best practice bin stations at future events,” Ahern says.

For further information, 

Contact Tracy Ahern, General Manager,, 027 5444 557