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Auckland Council adds food scraps pickup to weekly kerbside collections

By Bernard Orsman | 12 Jun 2018 07:00

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Auckland will move to the full introduction of kerbside food collections after councillors voted for a new waste management plan today.

The city has started trialling a third bin for food scrap collections in Papakura, but plans to phase in the system over the next few years.

Households already have a general waste bin and a recycling bin, some of whom pay a flat fee of $117 for the general bin, while others pay for a plastic bag or bin tag for each collection.

The council plans to charge all households $67 a year for food scrap collections and eventually shift the weekly general waste bin collections to fortnightly on a pay-as-you-throw system.

Councillor Linda Cooper said the new plan was a step change, albeit a tricky change for some people. Just tinkering, she said, was a waste for everyone who made submissions.

A hearings panel that heard 6579 submissions on the waste management plan considered calls for people to opt out of a food scraps collection, but panel chairwoman and councillor Penny Hulse said it was not practical.

Hulse, who chaired the environment and community committee that approved the plan today, said it was an extraordinary time for waste, getting the right systems in place and meeting the challenges along the way.

She said the council's goal was to a zero-waste city by 2040 and this ambitious vision remains the driver of the plan adopted today.

"We are proud of the progress we have made in recent years; we are now getting the right systems in place, public awareness is growing, and household waste has dropped by 10 per cent since 2010, but there is more to be done and we have to keep improving and innovating," Hulse said.

She said many common themes came through, including focussing on food scraps collection, illegal dumping, plastic in our marine environment, community recycling centres, hazardous waste and how the council works together with the commercial waste management sector.

The council has opted to continue weekly collections until the food scraps collection is well embedded.

The council's general manager of waste solutions, Ian Stupple, said more than half of the waste going to landfill was organic waste, made up of 10 per cent garden waste and 45 per cent of food scraps. Commercial waste going to landfill was around 40 per cent of the total.

A Remuera pensioner, who did not want to be named, questioned why elderly people like him who only put out a red bin once a month and a blue bin once every two months should have to pay the $67 charge for food scrap collection when all the scraps went down the wastemaster.

A unnamed Beach Haven resident, who fed the family's food scraps to chickens, also believed it was unfair to pay the $67 charge.

The plan outlines nine priority actions:
1. Advocate to central government for an increased waste levy
2. Advocate for product stewardship
3. Address three priority commercial waste streams (construction and demolition, organic and plastic waste), and emphasise council's role as a facilitator and partner in addressing commercial waste – not as a provider of services in the commercial space.
4. Continue establishing the resource recovery network
5. Continue transitioning to consistent kerbside collection of food scraps
6. Deliver the domestic collection of food scraps
7. Address Waste Diversion from Council Operations
8. Partner with others to achieve a Zero Waste Auckland
9. Address litter, illegal dumping and marine waste

Auckland waste systems

Current system
Auckland City and Manukau
$102 for base service, including recycling and inorganic collections
$117 flat fee for general rubbish collection
$219 total
North Shore, Waitakere and Papakura
$102 for base service, including recycling and inorganic collections
$135 for pay as you throw general rubbish collection
$237 total

Future system
For average household collection across the region
$108 for base service including recycling and inorganic collections
$89 for general pay as you throw rubbish, weekly eventually moving to fortnightly 
$67 flat fee for food waste weekly collection
$264 total

New Zealand Herald