Innovative New Zealand company ZingBokashi NZ - which specialises in composting products that help reduce food wastage and landfill, has secured the latest Buy NZ Made Hero Award for May.
The monthly Hero Award is given to Kiwi companies who not only do a fantastic job promoting their NZ Made status but who have also excelled in other key commercial areas.
The company was established in Christchurch in 2002 by Neville Burt, an organic farmer from New Zealand’s South Island who had a passion for a clean, green environment. Neville was already using Bokashi products on his own organic farm, when he met with world renowned crop ecology expert Professor Ravi Sangakkara and Japanese inventor Dr Teruo Higa who created the EM Effective Microorganisms which work as the catalyst for the Bokashi process. The Bokashi process itself in anaerobic process that relies on inoculated bran to ferment kitchen waste, including meat and dairy, into a safe soil builder and nutrient-rich tea for your plants.
It was a life-changing meeting as Neville realised the Bokashi products he had developed for his farming operation could have a significant impact on the long-term future of New Zealand’s environment if they were made available commercially, nationwide.
Neville went on to produce ZingBokashi for the Christchurch City Council, to test the value of the product as a means of reducing the amount of food waste going to landfill. The trial was a resounding success and Christchurch City Council now actively promotes the use of ZingBokashi for food waste recycling as part of its waste strategy. Other councils have followed suit and in some cases, actually subsidise the cost of ZingBokashi as part of their recycling strategy.
Today the company's product ranges has expanded from two to nine products, and now has full time members of staff having started as a part-time project. It has a large number of domestic New Zealand customers and a growing number of international ones too. Education of young children in environmental issues is fundamentally important to the future health of New Zealand and Bokashi NZ is involved in helping a growing number of schools and Environmental Educators about the role and use of ZingBokashi products in waste recycling and organic gardening.
"It all started out following the Government push for Zero Waste around the turn of the Millennium and this continued with the introduction of the Waste Minimisation Act in 2009," explained Neville.
"However, in the past three or four years the inertia of this has seen a new lot of people enter the market. Many of these seek sustainable products that use local resources and we also see a lot of younger people using our products as opposed to when we started most of our customers were 'old school' conservative types. It's changing times and we only see the desire to reduce waste increasing and becoming ever more proactive."
A degree of the company's success has also come from a staunch pro-NZ Made position, as Burt explained.
"We do place a strong emphasis on supporting local business for the supply of our inputs and believe that promoting the NZ Made angle provides the consumer with some confidence when purchasing our products,” he said. “They are assured that we not only supporting other NZ business but that we also manufacture with quality local raw materials and know the origin of any inputs. That counts for a great deal these days."
As a winning monthly Hero, ZingBokashi receives a certificate, promotion on the Buy NZ Made website, promotion in target media, Hero artwork which they can use in their own marketing, a social media advertising voucher worth $100 to be used on the Buy NZ Made social media channels and automatic entry into the annual competition where the 12 monthly winners will be voted on by the public for the Ultimate Hero Award.
If they win that, they will receive a trophy and certificate, artwork displaying their ultimate hero status and an advertorial in a magazine of their choice (from a selection of approved magazines) that includes information about their award, Buy NZ Made and other content of their choice.