More questions and answers on the new Kerbside collections
What will it cost after the first year?
After the first year, ratepayers will be able to select from different sized rubbish and recycling bins to suit their particular household’s needs. A change in bin size will be reflected in rates, with reduced rates for smaller bins and increased rates for larger bins. Final costs for the smaller and larger bin options are still to be confirmed.
The contracts we’ve entered into provide cost certainty over an 8-year period initially and are only expected to increase approximately $10 a year up to 2025 as a result of a combination of planned increases to the government’s waste levy, the emissions trading scheme and inflation. Much smaller increases are expected after this, in line with inflation only. This is on the basis that there are no major changes to the service to be provided.
I rent my property – how will I pay for this?
The service will be charged through the rates paid by the landlord. It will be at the discretion of the landlord how these charges will impact their tenants. With the annual rates fee of $230 for the first year (excluding garden waste), this works out to be $4.42 per week.
I don’t have room for the bins, what can I do?
Many people already have a rubbish bin, recycling bin and a glass crate. Some also have a garden bin. It is the small food scrap bin that is the new service. The rubbish, recycling, glass and food bins, when placed side by side take up approximately 2 metres in length. They are weather and animal proof, so they can be stored outside or inside.
Why can’t we collect plastics 3-7 for recycling?
We don't currently have the facilities in NZ to cost-effectively recycle grades 3-7 plastics (with the exception of grade 5 in some circumstances), and we can't guarantee we can send it overseas to be recycled either. Most council’s in NZ are moving away from collecting plastic grades 3, 4, 6 and 7, due to not having a sustainable solution for these materials.
We want to be transparent and upfront with our residents, so they can be confident that anything we collect for recycling is actually recycled. We think the onus should be on manufacturers to use packaging that's sustainable in the long term – rather than council having to deal with unsustainable packaging once it's been created. You can also help by reducing the number of plastics 3-7 you buy.
What can I do if I can’t physically take my bins to the kerbside?
People who are unable to take their bins to the kerbside are encouraged to contact council to see if they qualify for an assisted service, which will be free of charge.
Will the service be any different for retirement villages or apartment complexes?
We’ll be reaching out to all retirement villages and apartment complexes in the lead up to launch to see if individual bins for each household will work for them, or whether they’d prefer larger bins in communal collections points.
What happens to the food scraps, recycling, glass and rubbish that’s collected?
Food scraps will be processed into compost in Hampton Downs in the Waikato, until a local solution has been finalised.
Garden waste will be processed into compost locally in Tauranga. The compost will be sold in bulk and bags to the agricultural, horticultural and landscape industries and bagged markets throughout New Zealand.
All kerbside mixed recyclable material (paper and cardboard, plastics grades 1 & 2, tin and aluminium cans) will be sorted into their grades and where possible be sold to onshore local markets. International markets will be a last resort for this material.
All kerbside collected glass is manufactured back into bottles and jars at OI Glass in Auckland.
The remaining waste that is unable to be diverted will be sent to Hampton Downs landfill in the Waikato, as there is no landfill in Tauranga.
Won’t four bins per household take up too much space on the kerbside?
We will be spreading out collections over a fortnight to help reduce congestion at kerbside. For example, on your collection day in Week 1, we’ll collect glass recycling and recycling, and in Week 2 we’ll collect rubbish. As food scraps is a weekly collection, you can put this out on your collection day in any week. This means you’ll only need to put out one large wheelie bin at a time, helping reduce the number of bins on the kerbside on any given day.
For retirement villages and apartment complexes, residents will have the option of choosing between centralised collection points using larger bins or having individual bins for each household.
How do we know this service will actually make a difference?
We estimate the service will halve the amount of household waste each household sends to landfill by 2028. We’ve seen results like this from other cities in New Zealand who have introduced a similar service.
We’ll provide regular updates to the community on how the new service is going at reaching our waste reduction goals.
Why rates-funded rubbish collections instead of 'Pay-as-you-throw (PAYT)'?
The procurement process for the new service found rates-funded rubbish collections were more cost-effective for the average household, and our city as a whole, when compared with a PAYT rubbish collection. Rates-funded collections are also more convenient, as there is no need to purchase a tag to attach to the bin for collection.
Feedback received from the community in the Long Term Plan 2018 showed 66% of submitters were in favour of introducing rates-funded collections, and our recent Talking Trash survey showed 61% preferred charging for rubbish specifically through property rates; 39% preferred PAYT; and 79% agreed that having different sized/cost bins would improve the service.
One of the main reasons some people prefer PAYT is that it provides a financial incentive for people to reduce their waste. However, our current rubbish bag service is a PAYT system, and almost 70% of household waste we’re sending to landfill could be recycled or composted instead. Unfortunately, PAYT also leads to contaminated recycling bins and an increase in illegal dumping, from people trying to avoid the cost of rubbish disposal.
Other councils that have introduced similar rates-funded rubbish collections (rather than PAYT) have seen a significant reduction in the amount of household waste going to landfill. To make things work best for Tauranga, we’ll be having different bin size/cost options (from year 2) which will provide an element of financial incentive to reduce waste, as the larger bins will cost more.
We do appreciate that a pay-by-weight system could be a good next step, once our community is consistently using the food scraps and recycling collections, and the necessary technological advances are made in this space. Our service has been future-proofed to be ready for this when available, if this is what the community wants.
Won’t the food scraps bin get smelly and gross?
Households that already compost or use a worm farm will be used to having containers to collect food scraps, as well as rinsing out the containers when necessary. For those not used to this, some newspaper at the bottom can help keep the bin cleaner. The smell of the food scraps bin will be no different to the smell of food scraps that are currently put into rubbish bins, as food scraps will be collected weekly.
Isn’t it better to put food scraps down the insinkerator?
Food placed down the insinkerator is extracted from our wastewater system and transported to landfill – a wasteful and costly exercise. Using the food scraps collection not only avoids this, but also means food scraps can have a second, useful life as compost.
Will private roads receive kerbside collections?
We are pleased to offer kerbside collections to all property owners (including those whose properties are accessed via private roads/accessways). In the case of private roads/accessways, we will contact individual ratepayers to make suitable arrangements for collection of waste, where possible, from directly outside their properties. If this is not possible, we will inform the property owners of an agreed collection point for waste services. We do not accept any responsibility for wear and tear or general damage to private roads/accessways. Owners remain responsible for constructing or repairing private roads in accordance with Section 348 of the Local Government Act 1974.