Tauranga rubbish collection to change

Photo: Supplied.

Tauranga City Council is to take over residential kerbside rubbish collections and recycling services from 2021.

The decision is supported in the Long Term Plan submissions process and aligns with council’s strategic goal of minimising the rubbish trucked from Tauranga to the Waikato landfill, says the report by resource recovery and waste manager Rebecca Maiden.

The new collection will separate rubbish, recyclables and compostables, but the number of bins required is not yet decided.

The funding allows for $3.5m in the 2020/21 financial year, $16.3m in the 2021/22 financial year and $14m in the 2022/23 financial year onwards.

Because details are unlikely to be addressed before the LTP is adopted, a project plan will be presented to the council’s Environment Committee in September 2018.

“Staff and consultants have developed a detailed model of the implications of such a service for

Tauranga,” says Rebecca. 

“That model shows, at a city-wide level, increased diversion of waste from landfill and reduced costs to households as a result of introducing a full rates-funded service.”

The council-funded collection is estimated to cost $250 per household per annum, compared with the current average of $330 per household per annum, according to council figures.

Surveys undertaken in 2017 show that about 70 per cent of what is currently going to landfill could be recycled or composted.

The law, the Waste Minimisation Act 2008 requires a territorial authority to promote effective and efficient waste management and minimisation within its district.

The rubbish survey in 2017, which involved physical inspection of rubbish bag and bin contents from different parts of the city over different seasons, found most of the divertible waste going to landfill is food waste.

Households using the 240 litre bins throw out more recyclables than the bag and small bin users, the survey found.

The government-funded survey establishes an accurate base line for the community’s waste habits, which will be used to measure the effectiveness of any changes.

“It’s a sobering report,” said Environment Committee chair Steve Morris at the time.

“It’s my view that our current waste system is untenable and we will need to make a change. We are letting the environment down and we’re slipping behind the rest of the country too.”

Ratepayers’ attention was focussed on the recycling issue when private contractor Waste Management ceased glass collection from March 1, asking customers to do their own glass recycling.

It spurred the council to investigate and undertake a ratepayer-funded glass recycling service, which was approved in last week’s LTP deliberations. It is expected to begin in October.

The glass issue highlighted that a TCC-managed kerbside collection service will make it easier for all households to recycle. It will also enable the council to have greater influence over the range of materials that can be recycled, which is not possible with privately managed services.