Media Release

Resident food scraps project wins industry sustainability award

19 July 2023

Christine Dows, Helen Haslam, Lorraine Barley with their award

Residents at Crestwood retirement village in West Auckland are celebrating following a category win at the annual 2023 Retirement Village Association (RVA) Sustainability Awards ceremony in Auckland.

Trumping two other finalists, the ‘Crestwood Green Team’ were awarded the Resident Moving Resident-Led Sustainability Award for their outstanding efforts to significantly reduce food waste within their village, while increasing a sense of wellbeing and purpose within the village community.

Resident, and Green Team spokesperson, Helen Haslam, who played an active role introducing and coordinating the project, says they are incredibly proud of the acknowledgement.

“This award represents the work and effort all of our residents have put into our food scraps project. It also spreads the word that sustainability is important to each and every one of us – whatever our age and lifestyle might be.”

Passionate about environmental and social change, five like-minded Crestwood residents, all aged over 80 years old, formed the Green Team in June 2022.

“We decided to start with food scraps as it was something that everyone could become involved in. The community development methods we used to engage our neighbours meant that everyone, including even the quietest, more physically challenged and sometimes isolated people could join in and feel part of something meaningful which is much larger than ourselves,” said Helen.

Assisted by around 30 volunteers, the group made door to door visits to every resident, providing small benchtop buckets for their food scraps, information material and discussion about food recycling.

An almost universally positive welcome awaited the team across the 140 Crestwood units, with discussions triggering residents’ childhood memories of sustainable living – compost heaps, vegetable gardens, vegetable soups and bubble and squeak.

“We estimate that approximately 98% of more than 200 Crestwood Village residents are now enthusiastically involved and engaged,” says Helen.

Metlifecare Sustainability Manager, Ranjana Lal, says resident-led sustainability initiatives across Metlifecare villages are increasing.

“Sustainable living is becoming increasingly important to our residents who recognise its impact and value for future generations. We are immensely proud of what Crestwood’s Green Team has accomplished and will continue to support our residents’ efforts in building greener, more sustainable communities,” says Ranjana.

Following the ongoing success of the food scraps project, the Green Team has expanded into other initiatives, including soft plastics collection and energy efficiency.

“It is really important to look at changing our wasteful and often damaging living and purchasing patterns our modern society has become used to.

“As a generation that has contributed to the problems the world is facing, it feels a relief to be part of contributing to the solution,” says Helen.


For further details, please contact:

Lara Harrison
External Communications Specialist

E: (
P: 022 079 3554

About Metlifecare

Established in 1984, Metlifecare is a leading owner and operator of retirement villages, providing rewarding lifestyles and care to more than 6,500 New Zealanders. Metlifecare currently operates 36 villages around New Zealand and employs more than 2,000 staff.

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