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

​Ohakune is a paradise.

A small town at the base of Mount Ruapehu on the North Island of New Zealand, it attracts tourists all year round. But there’s a problem.

With over 400,000 people heading to the Tongariro National Park every year and leaving behind their waste, the nearby landfill is almost full. What's more, the process of trying to build another one will cost $2 million – money the Ruapehu District Council doesn't have.

Elemento Espresso in Ohakune

Luckily, Andrew Stubbing appears to have a solution. Stubbing set up his company Elemento Espresso last year, with a long term vision of creating a specialised Zero Waste food truck lane in Ohakune. It 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.

“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.

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.”

The Newmarket effect

Elemento Espresso has evolved over the past year from a mobile event based business to a coffee bar in Newmarket, Auckland. Their focus has remained consistent though, always choosing high-quality, sustainable products.

Elemento's range includes all compostable takeaway packaging, KeepCups, and coffee from Kokako Fairtrade Organic roasters. They also collect the coffee cups and lids from their customers and put them in their Organics Method 60L Office Recycling Bin, which are then composted with WeCompost.

This coffee destination is helping Stubbing reach his vision for Ohakune one cup at a time.

We look forward to seeing what the future holds for this collective of changemakers.

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