NZ's first electric dump truck a sign of the future

A company that collects your rubbish is leading the drive to electrify New Zealand's transport fleet.

Waste Management already generates electricity from your rubbish to power its cars, and now its first electric truck is collecting supermarket food waste.

"As soon as we are confident this thing is what we expect it to be, we progressively move to convert our collection fleet to plug-in electric," Waste Management CEO Tom Nickels says.

The electric truck picks up food waste from Countdown supermarkets, partnering in a 10-store trial in Auckland to find a better use for expired food.

It gets diverted from the landfill to either be made into food for stock or into compost at the Living Earth company.

"We are a big food business. There is always going to be a level of waste, but we want to do is make sure as little as possible goes to landfill," Countdown's Kate Porter says.

Food waste is a big issue for the world. A 2011 report by the United Nations estimated a third of all food produced is wasted, totalling 1.3 billion tonnes.

In New Zealand, Waste Management wants that waste for its sealed landfills to generate methane gas, which can then be turned into electricity.

"The truck that collects your waste through that process is ultimately powered by electric from that waste. That's the circular economy," Mr Nickels says.

Waste already powers its fleet of electric cars, but converting 800 trucks around New Zealand isn't simple or cheap. To make this happen, Waste Management had to buy a new truck, ship it to Holland, rip out the new diesel motor and replace it with the electric motor.

It's an expensive way to do it, but the company hopes eventually it can just buy these straight off the yard.

If this food waste collection trial works, the companies want to take it nationwide to make sure the waste isn't wasted.