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Kerbside collections FAQs

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 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 eight-year period initially and are 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 .. For example, the cost of the service for the 2022/23 year will increase from $210 to $220 for the year.

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 $210 for the first year (excluding garden waste), this works out to be $4.04 per week.

I don’t have room for the bins, what can I do?

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 we now accept #5 plastics?

There is now a long-term local sustainable market for plastic grade 5. This means that there is a company who wants to take #5 plastics and turn them into something new e.g. a park bench. Previously, there were not many options for #5 plastics, or the company collecting was limited in what they could take. Also, the Material Recycling Facility (where recycling is sorted) is receiving some upgrades, making it easier for people on the sorting line to identify #5 plastics.

Why can’t we collect plastics 3, 4, 6 and 7 for recycling?

We don't currently have the facilities in NZ to cost-effectively recycle grades 3, 4, 6 and 7 plastics, 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. 

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.

Request an assisted service

Will the service be any different for retirement villages or apartment complexes?

We’ve contacted retirement villages and apartment complexes 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 and 5, 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?

Collections are spread out over a fortnight to help reduce congestion at kerbside. For example, one week we’ll collect glass, recycling and food scraps, and the following week we’ll collect rubbish and food scraps. 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 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 you can line the food scraps bin with newspaper or paper to help keep the bin cleaner and reduce odour. You could consider freezing your food scraps until collection day. And remember, 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 residential households* (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.

*There are some households that cannot receive the kerbside collection services due to accessibility and we will be in touch with these properties to advise them of alternative waste solutions.

What size are the bins?

For the first year, households will be provided with a 140L rubbish bin, a 240L recycling bin and a 23L food scraps bin to add to their existing 45L glass bin. After the first year, households can change the size of their rubbish and recycling bins – with smaller bins costing less than larger bins. We learnt from other councils it’s best to roll out the service with the standard size bins for the first year, before introducing the different bin size option/costs. 

The optional garden waste bin is a 240L bin collected 4-weekly or fortnightly.

What’s the small white disk in my bin?

All council kerbside bins are fitted with a radio frequency identification (RFID) tag. With an operation this size, we need to keep track of the bins in the community and the tags help us identify lost or stolen bins. RFID technology is very common these days, it’s used in libraries, stores and even when microchipping our pets! RFID tags pose no risk to humans or animals.  

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