Addi Road has moved another step closer to a green future with the arrival of our e-van. Funded by the NSW Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), our brand-new Renault EV Kangoo will be used to stop food from going into landfill by collecting food donations and providing it to those in need.
The e-van joins an Addi Road mini-fleet of vehicles now at work across the city. We are yet to name our new EV (the other vehicles already have nick-names), but we would love to hear suggestions from the community.
Our grant from the EPA covers the cost of the van and the decals that identify our food-rescue mission. It has also allowed us to install a vehicle charger in front of the Addi Road offices and Food Pantry in Hut 1 here at Addison Road Community Centre in Marrickville.
Everything in our main office and Addi Road Food Pantry operates off the solar panels on the Hut 1 roof. Now that we have an EV, we can likewise power it entirely from the energy we harness from the sun.
Addi Road Food Pantry Manager Damien Moore is thrilled. “This meets our goal of dramatic emissions reductions. There are no greenhouse gases attached to running it. None. It’s basically all about closing the loop within our Food Pantry operation. We rescue food from landfill. Our fridges and freezers are all solar powered. We recycle our cardboard waste. Any minimal food waste we have is composted or donated to animal sanctuaries. Soon we will also have our own kitchen where we can work with community groups to cook meals that will be distributed through our Food Pantry.”
“So, I think the e-van is just great. It’s another important step towards sustainability and reducing our carbon footprint. That’s the bottom line all the way, baby!”
“What’s new is that we’re making it happen. And that it makes sense! We praise the EPA for their genuine commitment and sharing of our vision. It’s important for all of us to do what we can for the environment.”
Addi Road CEO Rosanna Barbero draws a diagram to further explain how the vehicle connects everything we are doing. She marks out all the stages from the production and sale of food to the creation of food waste, our electric vehicle, charging the vehicle from our solar panels, the ‘waste’ food being picked up and taken back to our Food Pantry, and then taken into the homes of our community.
“It’s completely circular,” Rosanna says. “Yes, we’re stopping food waste going into landfill. But the key here is that the car is being charged by solar panels on the roof of the Food Pantry. That is quite special. And the first time, to my knowledge, that this circular zero-waste operation has been achieved in Australia in a charitable food relief project.”
Why is that so important? Rosanna is animated in her response. “Because we are facing a period of absolute crisis in the environment. If we don’t act now, we may not have a planet. Among other things, the climate crisis also creates inequality. It affects the lives of rural Australians. It’s partially responsible for things like the refugee crisis as well. People are being pushed off their land, livelihoods are being destroyed, cultural traditions lost. The situation with the environment and social justice issues are all interconnected.”
“We need the government to encourage a much greater use of e-vehicles. You only have to look at what happened with COVID-19, the reduction in cars on the road as people stayed home and the cessation of air travel. We could literally see how quickly the earth and air was able to repair itself – and how illness and health problems related to pollution were eased.”
“What we do individually is important. But it’s what we can achieve as a collective that brings serious change for the better. We have to put pressure on large companies to change their behaviour. In our Food Pantry operations here at Addi Road, we show that it can be done. We can have e-cars, have solar panels and recharging stations.”
“Look, what we are saying is not new,” Rosanna says. “What’s new is that we’re making it happen. And that it makes sense! We praise the EPA for their genuine commitment and sharing of our vision. It’s important for all of us to do what we can for the environment. Individual and collective action, communities, companies and governments alike.”
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