Rubbish progress

Thursday 16 May 2019

The proposed rates-funded kerbside recycling, food scraps and rubbish collection was unanimously approved to move to the next stage by council this Tuesday. The service will now go through a tender process, where the council will work with service providers to determine what the service could look like while considering how to best serve the community.

The service is needed to address Tauranga’s waste problem, caused by low recycling rates and a growing population. Currently, nearly 70% of all household waste that goes to landfill could be recycled or composted. That's about the equivalent of throwing 360 tonnes (or an Airbus A380) of waste unnecessarily into landfill, each week.

Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout said “we know that Tauranga has a very poor recycling record and that we need to minimise waste to landfill. This is the next step in that journey.”

The proposed service is expected to reduce residential waste to landfill by up to 30% (up to 8,000 tonnes each year) and double the amount of residential recycling.

A food scraps collection is proposed as a large part of household waste is food (32%). Food waste placed in landfill doesn’t break down in the same way it would in a compost bin, as it is cut off from oxygen. Instead, methane is produced which is harmful to the environment and expensive to manage. Putting food waste down the sink also ends up in landfill after it has been extracted from the waste water system.

As part of the Long Term Plan 2018/2028, council resolved to provide a council managed kerbside service after a large majority of community submissions was in favour of doing so.

Tauranga is one of the last cities in New Zealand to introduce a council-led kerbside collection. Other cities in New Zealand that have a similar service have seen a reduction in the amount of residential waste sent to landfill.

Martin Parkes, Acting General Manager Infrastructure says “it’s essential council takes responsibility for the residential kerbside collection, so we can have a direct impact on the amount of residential waste that is sent to landfill. Reducing waste sent to landfill will benefit future generations and the environment, it’s simply the right thing to do for our community.”

The service presented to the Committee is a ‘proposed service’. The final service will be confirmed after the tender process is complete in 2020. The kerbside service is expected to start in July 2021.