Elliot st Shared Space, and the leaning tower of Pizza boxes

Its been great to see how successful they are too, businesses on all the shared spaces have seen increase in their revenues due to the increased foot traffic, and it really shows that Auckland is growing up as a city in embracing good urban form. I look forward to seeing council have the courage to apply the treatment to High st next!

One evening, leas than a week after I came down from my tree sit in Titirangi, I was riding my bike around town, and being hungry I went to Elliot st.

One thing I love about Elliot st is all the food vendors.

It gives that particular shared space a really piazza type feel, you can always see people eating, talking and just being human in the urban landscape. Its just a fantastic asset to the city and Auckland council’s place making team, as well as the Waitemata local board, should be proud of their work there.

However,

I saw at the bins on Elliot st a stack of pizza boxes taller than me, and another stack next to it. I’m told this is a regular occurrence.

I have a particular interest in waste and resource management, I sit on the Board of Trustees of the Waiheke Resource Trust www.wrt.org.nz, which has vast experience in waste minimisation education, zero waste event management, and in the past held the waste and recycling contract for the while of Waiheke Islands solid waste. What I saw on Elliot st was a break in the system, and a problem that needed fixing. Dominos is a franchise business model, and operates the same business practices in each of its locations. I used to work for a dominos franchise many years ago as a student, so am familiar with the basics of their operations. In Dominos’ other stores they primarily serves a delivery or pick up customer. In the location on Elliot st it has a greater proportion of customers who will use the public space out the front, on Elliot st. Dominos contacted me after seeing my tweet, and told me that they will be looking into the situation. I haven’t heard anything since, but what is needed there is for them to adopt a system at that store different from their other stores, and this may be difficult for them.

It was great to get acknowledgement from Dominos that they recognised the problem.

Perhaps one solution might be for Dominos to ask people if they were “dining in” on Elliot st and provide a plate, or tray, or some reusable item for serving their pizza on. Reduction of waste is always better than managing volumes.

I was recently down in Wellington, talking with MPs about Tree protection in this country and the RMA, and I saw the above business, located in a pedestrianised zone at the end of Courtenay Place. There were no pizza boxes littering the street. Their business practices recognised where they were located, and were not applying a one size fits all approach, or expecting others to clean up their mess.

I had hoped to be surprised. I would be very pleased to see Dominos come up with a creative waste reduction strategy more sophisticated than simply putting out a couple of wheelie bins.

Their solution, after having put out two wheelie bins, (which wasn’t working) was to put out two more.

Back today, little change. Couldn’t see the extra two wheelie bins either.

It doesn’t appear that the other vendors products are generating as much waste as Dominos and their boxes, and I think this comes down to the inflexibility of the franchise model that they operate under.

I also hope that Elliot st continues to thrive as an eating destination, I will continue to eat there, and that when the City Rail Link station entrance opens there, really establishes Elliot st as one of ‘the’ places to be in the new urban Auckland, and helps lift us up to be one of the most livable and exciting cities in the world.

Franchisee “one size fits all” business models, which are inflexible, and are creating problems like this, could limit the success of these efforts. So let’s get this right, Dominos NZ, your move.

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