More questions and answers on the new Kerbside collections
What will the ongoing cost be after the first year?
After the first year, ratepayers can 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.
The contracts we’ve entered 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 has increased from $210 to $220 for the year.
I rent my property – how will I pay for this?
The service is charged through the rates paid by the property owner. It will be at the discretion of the landlord how these charges will impact their tenants. With the annual rates fee of $220 for the second year (excluding garden waste), this works out to be $4.23 per week.
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 councils 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 happens to the food scraps, recycling, glass, and rubbish that’s collected?
Food scraps are processed into compost in at the Hampton Downs Resource Recovery Park in the Waikato, until a local solution has been finalised.
Garden waste is also currently being processed into compost at the Hampton Downs Resource Recovery Park. 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 in Auckland.
The remaining waste that is unable to be diverted will be sent to Hampton Downs Resource Recovery Park landfill in the Waikato, as there is no landfill in Tauranga.
Why rates-funded rubbish collections instead of 'Pay-as-you-throw (PAYT)'?
The procurement process for the 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 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 previous rubbish bag service was a PAYT system, and almost 70% of household waste we were sending to landfill could have been recycled or composted instead.
What size are the bins?
For the first year, each household was issued 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 by selecting a new bin bundle – 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 label 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.