Hobbiton Movie Set have made a commitment to sustainable development and practices across all areas of the business. In 2018, we signed the Tourism Industry Association's Sustainable Tourism Commitment, which aims to see every New Zealand tourism business committed to sustainability by 2025. To deliver on this, we must achieve ambitious economic goals while contributing to restoring, protecting and enhancing our natural environment, and continuing to be a high quality destination of choice for domestic and international travellers. Hobbiton Movie Set are committed to these goals and have developed a range of initiatives across the business, with many more to come.
As part of Hobbiton’s commitment to environmental sustainability, the ‘Going Green’ initiative was developed to minimise our impact on the environment. As part of this initiative, we are working towards protecting and preserving the environment that makes us unique and attracts over half a million visitors to the area each year.
In order to restore native vegetation and increase biodiversity, hundreds of native seedlings are being planted around the Movie Set and surrounding farmland. Focusing these efforts in the riparian zone (surrounding our waterways) will not only encourage native fauna to the area, it will aid in maintaining water quality in the lake which is a centerpiece of the visitor experience. NIWA (National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research) scientists have been monitoring the lake’s water quality and biodiversity to ensure it is up to a high standard. Our gardening teams are also working hard to supplement biodiversity on the Movie Set through attracting more native birds, bees and butterflies to our gardens. Restoring native birds to the Movie Set has been approached by enhancing and developing attractive habitats, including providing targeted feeders.
Pest control programs are also being implemented to protect our native species and continue to protect the environment.
We have developed an on-site general waste processing site where all waste collected in the rubbish bins at The Shires Rest and The Green Dragon Inn is hand-sorted into organic waste, recycling and general refuse. Having adopted the same sorting principles as the Matamata Transfer Stations, Hobbiton have been able to streamline this process and start a composting heap for decomposable organic materials along with green waste from the gardens, which is then used to maintain the gardens on the Movie Set. Even daily food waste and fresh vegetable cuttings are utilised and given to a local pig farmer to supplement their feed.
A large part of both minimising and responsibly disposing our waste has come from selecting compostable and biodegradable alternatives for food packaging used in the Shire’s Rest Café.
With 80,000 takeaway coffee cups sold from The Shires Rest Café each year, it was important to us to use biodegradable alternatives, making a significant difference to the amount of waste being sent to landfill. All non-compostable food packaging at Café has been swapped with carefully-sourced plant-based alternatives from reputable local suppliers Ecoware. These alternatives are made of materials such as bamboo fibre, paper, and Bioplastic made from Polylactic Acid (PLA), a material derived from sustainable plant resources with a carbon footprint of up to 75% less than traditional packaging materials. Our compostable packaging items collected through our bins are then taken to our on-site facility and composted which helps keep our gardens on the Movie Set thriving.
Hobbiton is working to develop a strict purchasing policy to avoid consumables that are not biodegradable, compostable or recyclable. This policy will also aim to promote locally sourced goods to minimise excess packaging and transport.
Hobbiton Movie Set Chief Executive, Russell Alexander says “Our Going Green initiative is an integral part of our corporate responsibility and we believe it is extremely important to make the effort to minimize our impact on New Zealand’s precious environment. Our aim is to become as self-sufficient and sustainable as reasonably practicable. Our plan is to utilize our surrounding area and farming roots with a number of further steps to be taken over the next few years.
We look forward to becoming even more environmentally friendly in the future and taking our visitors on this journey with us.”