Elemento Espresso’s Andrew Stubbing on bringing Zero Waste to Mount Ruapehu

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Ohakune is a paradise: a small town at the base at Mount Ruapehu on the North Island of New Zealand, its picturesque in the Summer and the ultimate snow haven in Winter. But there’s a problem.

With over 400,000 holidaymakers and thrillseekers flocking to the Tongariro National Park every year and leaving behind a trail of rubbish, the nearby landfill is almost full. Moreover, the process of trying to build another one will cost $2 million, which the Ruapehu District Council just doesn’t have.

Luckily, Andrew Stubbing appears to have a solution. Currently working in produce, Stubbing set up his community-centric coffee van company Elemento Espresso this year, with a long term vision of creating a specialised Zero Waste food truck lane in Ohakune - somewhere that would be “like a festival, but for 3-4 months of the year,” for the vast numbers of tourists and locals - where all waste would be processed, too.

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“There’s a piece of land I’ve found that would be great as an activated space. It’s mission would be to reduce the amount of waste, be a communal space to eat, and somewhere unlike supermarkets and shops where your food will be free of plastic packaging which ends up in the landfill,” says Stubbing.  

Why did he want to incorporate Method’s recycling bins into his business? “It means we can separate the rubbish at the source. Method’s Whanganui factory is also only an hour from Ohakune, which was important to me. It’s a bin that’s made locally and it’s an education point, which I’m trying to put it in front of all ages.”

Andrew’s goal is not only to help Ohakune, but to change national and global mindsets when it comes to recycling and composting. “It’s a matter of changing behaviours by creating a space people can be educated in while enjoying amazing food and coffee.”

You can find Andrew and Elemento Espresso at Auckland Marathon this Sunday 29th October, serving up organic fairtrade Kokako coffee and composting used coffee cups onsite.

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