Countdown is committed to becoming New Zealand's most sustainable retailer and the journey starts by ensuring its support office in Favona, Auckland is leading the way, even outside in the car park.

“Last week we installed 20 yellow speed bumps in our car park made out of 4000 recycled plastic bags each, which means we've been able to reuse more than 160,000 plastic bags and turn them into something really useful," said Peta Winikerei, Countdown's office manager and resident eco-warrior.

"So not only are we saving our team from fast drivers but we are also helping protect the environment. We’re also planning to install nine bench seats in our outdoor piazza area made from more than 10,000 recycled plastic bags each. We also recently reviewed our cafe to see if there were opportunities to reduce our environmental footprint there as well - we've got rid of straws and any plastic utensils, and we've also converted all the packaging to compostable containers and put in composting bins to take the waste.  I'm also particularly proud that we've managed to move our coffee-loving team to keep cups which has saved thousands of cups from going to the landfill."

“Our most recent change is to introduce organic rubbish bins in the cafe and in the bathrooms to compost packaging from the cafe as well as paper towels. The great part is that the waste is taken to a local compostable facility in South Auckland which breaks down the waste and then sends top quality compost back to our very own local growers,” she says. "We also give our leftover food waste to our hungry worms, farmed at the back of the kitchen."

Countdown said it has also recently stopped giving away umbrella sleeves for wet days and is now converting to umbrella holders around the building.

"We're really trying to looking for ways to reduce our waste and impact on the environment in all corners."