IMPORTANT COUNCIL PLANS FOR RUBBISH AND RECYCLING IN TAURANGA AND WESTERN BAY OF PLENTY
COUNCIL PLANS FOR RUBBISH AND RECYCLING
Tauranga Council is currently carrying out a review of their Waste Minimisation Plan. It appears that they think too much organic material and glass is currently going to landfill. In order to remedy this they are considering a number of proposals ranging from leaving things as they are (all private sector and use-pays) to changing to a rates-funded rubbish and recycling collection.
Updated 5th March 2018
As you may be aware both Western Bay and Tauranga Councils
are looking at possible
rates-funded rubbish and recycling services. At this stage
Western Bay are only investigating the issue but Tauranga have put the proposal
into their draft long-term plan. This proposal will be open for public
consultation from 16th March to 16th April and the final decision will be taken
in June. If they go ahead the service will be introduced in 2020/21.
There is quite a lot of information on the council website
but I believe it is incomplete and possibly misleading. While the details have
not been decided , the example used on the website is based on a proposal by
SLR Consulting. They propose to start with a 3-bin system (rubbish, recycling
and greenwaste or organic) and add a separate foodwaste bin two years later.
The estimated cost of this is apparently $236 - $247 per household per annum however
this does not include additional admin costs at council (your guess is as good
as mine). Also when I asked council staff if these figures included GST I was
told all figures in the SLR report were GST exclusive – it’s not hard to see
this ending up well over $300. In addition council staff are currently
proposing a kerbside glass collection – I don’t believe this can be done for
less than $50 per household per annum.
The justification for this proposal is that it will divert
an additional 10,000 tons or so of material away from landfill by 2025 - this
diversion is expected to be 60% food waste, 25% greenwaste and 15% recycling.
To put this into perspective regarding recycling, this amounts to less than
half a kilogram of extra recycling per household per week and appears to be
dependent on somebody building a new Materials Recovery Facility to process
mixed recycling. This seems unlikely given the current uncertainty around the
value of much recycled material (China has already stopped importing paper and
The big environmental issue is organic material (food waste
or greenwaste) going to landfill where it produces greenhouse gases. If these
materials are instead treated by either composting or anaerobic digestion they
produce much less. I believe part of the problem is that most people are not
aware of this issue. The people of Tauranga and Western Bay have demonstrated
their commitment to the environment by their enthusiasm for recycling (in a
report by Eunomia Consulting in 2015 we were recycling more material per capita
than several other centres with a rates-funded recycling collection). I am
confident that an increase in public awareness of this issue would quickly lead
to an increase in home composting and the use of greenwaste bins. Apparently
our council don’t trust us to do the right thing.
The largest part of the expected diversion is food-waste -
according to council staff the proposed food-waste collection service will cost
less than $40 per household per annum - it is however dependant on someone building
a suitable processing plant as currently we don't have one anywhere in the
region. I have already suggested to our councillors that it makes more sense to
forget about the other bins and just introduce a food-waste collection (6000
tons of diversion for $40 per household instead of 10000 tons for $300+) but I
didn't get much of a response.
User-pays or rates-funded ?
For the last 24 years we have had a private sector user-pays
system which has provided residents with a choice of bin types and sizes as
well as different service levels. It also allows residents to choose how much
they spend - recycling and greenwaste bins are cheaper than rubbish bins and
home composting and worm-farming are free as is taking your recycling to the
transfer stations. Competition between service providers has kept prices down
and service quality up.
A rates-funded collection service will almost certainly be
one-size-fits-all - every house will get 3 (or 4 or 5) bins whether they need
them or not and every household will have to pay for them even if they don't
use them. Those of you who have been diligently minimizing your waste by
home-composting, worm-farming or taking your recycling to the transfer station
yourself will be paying a lot more than you currently are. There will also be
many households for whom the rates-funded service is inadequate - these will
have to arrange extra collections from any surviving private-sector services.
Even if the rates-funded service meets your needs right now will it still suit
your household in 10 or 20 years - although the SLR report talks about a 7-year
contract it is hard to see a return to the current system if council adopts a
What will it cost in the future?
I'd suggest you take a look at how much your rates have
increased in recent years. Not every house will be the same but most will be
similar. In my case I compared the six-monthly installment I paid in Feb 2001
with the same installment in Feb 2018 plus my last two water bills (in 2001
water was included in the rates). The cost has increased by 146.5%. I compared
this with the increase in the Consumer Price Index (Q4 2000 to Q4 2017) -
41.7%. Over the same period the cost of Kleana Bins services have increased by
about 45% on average. So my rates have increased by more than 3 times the rate
of inflation over 17 years - doesn't inspire much confidence.
Our Council is currently looking at increasing rates by 9.6%
a year for the next 3 years (more than 4 times the rate of inflation) and as
far as I am aware this does not include the rates-funded collection service.
It is also worth remembering that this is the same council
that looked after its own office building so well it had to be demolished.
What can you do?
The draft 2018/28 Long Term Plan is open for consultation
from 16th March to 16th April 2018. The consultation document should be
available on the council website as well as details of public consultation
meetings. There will also be submission forms available on-line and at council
offices. The best way for you to influence the council decision is to make a
submission and if possible ask to speak in support of your submission. Another
possibility is to e-mail some or all of the Councillors with your views - there
is a link on the council web-site which allows you to e-mail all elected
You read all about the proposed kerbside services here
Locations and dates:
Red Square (Tauranga CBD) – Friday 16 to Thursday 22 March
Greerton Square (in front of Greerton library) – Friday 23 to Wednesday 28 March
Salisbury Ave (the Mount) – Thursday 29 March to Monday 9 April. Closed all Easter weekend
Red Square (Tauranga CBD) – Tuesday 10 to Monday 16 April
Updated 24th July 2016
Since we last posted information on this subject there have been significant changes. Western Bay Council have decided not to proceed with a joint Waste Minimisation Plan but instead to prepare their own plan – we are waiting to see what it looks like but we understand that a rates-funded collection system is probably not being considered.
Tauranga City Council have now produced a revised Waste Minimisation Plan – this was open for submissions until 14th July, hearings are next Thursday 28th July and the Council will decide whether to adopt the plan (with or without changes) in August or September. The plan proposes to investigate a full kerbside service covering all waste streams. As this is the only significant proposal in the plan that covers domestic waste we read this as a determination on the part of council staff to impose a rates-funded collection system on the city regardless of the wishes of ratepayers. Apparently no consideration is to be given to alternative solutions such as more public recycling options although they are widely used in other countries.
We (Kleana Bins) have made submissions to the plan and will be speaking in support of them next week. We know that many of our customers have voiced their opposition to council plans and support for our position – we thank you all for your support, especially those who have made submissions to Council or signed our petition. Sadly we have little confidence that this will be the end of the matter – although some councillors and council staff have been assuring us that nothing will happen before 2019 we expect to have to fight the same battle again in three years time or less.
In the meantime we will be watching closely what happens in Rotorua – their rates-funded system starts operating in September and although Rotorua council is refusing to supply information on costs at present we are confident that their overall costs will eventually prove to be much higher than the budget figures supplied last year.
Press Articles on these matters:
These Council Plans will greatly effect your wallet, quality of service you receive and your freedom of choice.
Tauranga and Western Bay Councils are currently carrying out a review of their Waste Minimisation Plan. It appears that they think too much organic material and glass is currently going to landfill. In order to remedy this they are considering a number of proposals ranging from leaving things as they are (all private sector and use-pays) to changing to a rates-funded rubbish and recycling collection.
These proposals are detailed in a council document which can be accessed via a link in a story on the Sunlive website titled "The future of WBOP rubbish”. Alternatively you can click on:
A large part of this (147 page) document is a consultants report making the case for rates-funded council provision of rubbish and recycling services – we assume councillors will be asked to make their decision based on this. Unfortunately this report appears to be full of incorrect statements and wildly inaccurate estimates.
For instance it claims that currently 8,000 properties in Western Bay have no access to kerbside rubbish or recycling services – in fact there are less than 100. Another example is a claim that within the two districts total public spending on rubbish and recycling is currently $37,500,000 pa – we believe the correct figure is more like $14,000,000 and certainly no more than $18,000,000.
For more than 20 years the private sector has provided a range of services from a number of different providers. This means that most residents can choose the type and size of bins they want, the frequency of collection and quality of service and the provider they prefer. Competition has kept prices down and means we all have to maintain service quality or risk losing business. This has also provided incentives to the public to produce less waste (composting can greatly reduce your rubbish disposal costs) and to recycle more (recycling bins are cheaper than rubbish bins).
We also believe that there are many other ways to deal with these problems – more free recycling drop-off points at supermarket and shopping centre car parks could greatly increase the amount being recycled and could well make a tidy profit (for the Council) after covering the initial set-up cost. On-going public education regarding composting and worm farms (with or without subsidies) could make a difference. Reducing the cost of disposing greenwaste would also make greenwaste bins more attractive – it shouldn’t cost $90 per ton to get rid of grass clippings.
If you agree with us (e/a keeping the Status Quo) please make the effort to take part in the public consultation in June or, better still, e-mail your views to your councillor(s). E-mail addresses of all councillors are available on the respective council websites.
For Tauranga City Council :
For Western Bay of Plenty District Council: