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Frequently asked questions from the public consultation.

A: We expect our full suite of kerbside collections (food scraps, recycling, glass recycling and rubbish) to be better value than what is currently provided by private operators, however, we won’t know what the final cost of the service is until the tender process has been completed in early 2020.

We’re also proposing to give residents the choice of different sized/cost wheelie bins for the rubbish and recycling collections.

A: Currently, the only rates-funded waste related service in Tauranga is the kerbside glass collection at $36 per year.

For rubbish collection, residents currently have two options:

  • purchasing council rubbish bags from the supermarket for the weekly collection
  • contracting a private collection company to pick up their waste and/or recycling.

The council rubbish bag collection service would stop if our proposed new kerbside collection began.

A: Unfortunately, if we allowed residents to opt-out this would mean the service would become too expensive to introduce city-wide and achieve our overall goal of reducing the amount of household waste going into landfill.

A: Although many residents have been doing the right thing by reducing the amount of rubbish they send to landfill – unfortunately not enough have been, which is why our city has one of the worst rates per capita in New Zealand for sending household rubbish to landfill.

We have tailored the service to reward those in the community producing less waste overall, by giving households the option of having a smaller/cheaper wheelie-bin for the rubbish and recycling collections.

A: We're the only major centre in New Zealand that doesn’t provide a rates-funded kerbside collection for all households. Other cities with a similar collection have seen a significant reduction in household rubbish in landfill, benefiting their environment, the community and future generations.

Our priority is to serve the community by reducing the costs associated with managing waste in landfill, and to help our environment.

While we are responsible for the service, we will be partnering up with the successful private waste contractor/s from our tender process to benefit from their expertise in delivering the service to the community.

A: The Council comprehensively delivers waste education programmes in the community on topics such as worm composting, waste-free parenting/living, waste education for schools and businesses, and food waste. Some of these programmes have been running for many years (education in schools for 20 years) and yet we still have our waste problem. Community education is important but it's not the definitive answer to significantly reducing Tauranga’s household waste to landfill. Research shows we must provide a variety of solutions in order to minimise waste to landfill.

A: We are currently considering whether to provide a green waste collection. Our proposed service doesn’t include a green waste collection after weighing up the pros and cons, e.g.:

  •  green waste only contributes 17% of residential waste in landfill, compared with 30% for food waste
  • not all households create garden waste, but all create food waste
  •  green waste is already serviced in the current market (unlike food scraps) - residents can take it to their local transfer station, compost it at home or use a green waste service from a private contractor
  • leaving this collection out would reduce the cost of the final service for the ratepayer.

However, if there is strong support from the community that they would like a green waste service, we will consider introducing this service.

A: The service is expected to start in July 2021. We will give households and operators plenty of notice before this, so they can cancel any existing contracts with private operators well ahead of time of the new service starting.

A: Councillors will consider the community feedback received and the results of the tender process in March/April 2020 to make the final decision on the final kerbside service to be introduced.

Tauranga has one of the worst rates per capita for sending household rubbish to landfill. Nearly 70% of all household waste going into landfill could be recycled or composted instead. That’s the equivalent of throwing an Airbus A380 into landfill each week.

We're the only major centre in New Zealand without a rates-funded collection to make it easy for households to reduce the amount of rubbish they send to landfill. Other cities with a similar collection have seen a significant reduction in household rubbish in landfill, benefiting their environment, the community and future generations.

Through a combination of centralising the city-wide collection, gaining economies of scale, and working with waste contractors through a tender process, we are aiming to provide a better value service for the ratepayer than residents currently get with the local private waste collection industry.

Introducing the new service is the right thing to do. Simply by recycling and composting more, we will reduce the cost of managing the waste in landfill and the risk of environmental harm for our community and future generations.

The environmental impact of landfills – why we need less rubbish in landfill

The more landfill space we use, the more leachate (toxic liquid) and methane is produced – which ultimately costs our city to prevent these from harming the environment.

Waste in landfills also breaks down very slowly as it is cut off from oxygen (a lettuce takes 20 years, plastic takes hundreds of years), making landfill a problem for future generations and the environment.

A centralised city-wide collection will also reduce the amount of rubbish trucks on the roads on collection days, ease traffic congestion at the transfer stations (wait times for residents are currently up to an hour at peak times), and ensure valuable materials are recycled and turned into something new where possible – rather than going into landfill unnecessarily.

The cost of not doing anything – and increasing landfill use

Landfills are very expensive to operate and will only get more expensive in future due to expected increases in the waste levy and emission trading tax. Our current recycling drop-off centres in Tauranga are also at capacity, so further investment in this will be required if we can't start collecting residential recycling from the kerbside.

A: The proposed service is for residentially rated properties and includes fortnightly collections of:

  • Rubbish (a standard 140L Wheelie bin - the equivalent of two rubbish bags, or the choice of an 80L/240L bin)
  • Mixed recyclables (a standard 240L Wheelie bin for paper & cardboard, plastics grade 1 & 2, tin and aluminium cans, or the choice of an 80L/140L bin)
  • Glass recycling collection (45L Crate) (retain current collection of this)

And a weekly:

  •  Food waste collection (33L bin) & Kitchen top caddy.

We are also considering:

  • Introducing an opt-in green waste collection at an additional cost
  • Whether a one-off annual rates payment is the best approach for the service, or a component of ‘pay as you throw’ charge for the rubbish collection only.

Please note: our proposed service is dependent on the outcome of the tender process with waste contractors who will operate the service on behalf of the Council. Parts of the service may be removed or added to, and the frequency of collections could change once we understand what's possible in the local market and best for the community (after receiving community feedback).

A: If the proposed service is confirmed by Councillors in early 2020, the council rubbish bags will be replaced by the rates-funded kerbside collection which includes a 140L wheelie bin for rubbish (more than the volume of two rubbish bags).

A: Food scraps (30% of all current household waste): Any food scraps, raw or cooked, including fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy, bread, bones and fish, coffee grinds and tea bags.

Recycling (20% of all current household waste): Paper, cardboard, plastics 1 & 2 (e.g. milk and soft drink bottles) – as well as food and drink cans (tin, aluminium and steel). Rinsed and without lids.

Glass: Glass bottles and jars only, rinsed and without lids. No broken glass, light bulbs or fluorescent tubes, cookware or drinking glass.

Rubbish: This bin is for rubbish that goes straight into landfill, because it can’t go in the food scraps, recycling or glass recycling bins.

Excludes e-waste, dry or liquid chemicals (including household chemicals), explosive or flammable materials, building materials like wood or concrete, liquids and fluids including paints and solvents, automotive products, or green waste (such as lawn trimmings).

A: In practise, 70% of all plastics collected for recycling are grade 1 and 2. For the other 30% of plastics, we don't currently have the facilities in NZ to cost-effectively recycle grades 3-7 plastics, and we can't guarantee we can send it overseas to be recycled either. We want to be transparent and upfront with our residents, so they can be confident that anything we collect for recycling is actually recycled at the end of the day. 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.

A: We don't currently have the facilities in NZ to cost-effectively recycle soft plastics collected in Tauranga at scale, and we can't guarantee we can send it overseas to be recycled either. We want to be transparent and upfront with our residents so they can be confident that what we collect for recycling is actually recycled at the end of the day. 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.

Soft plastic packaging also can't be collected in the recycling bin as the processing equipment is only designed to handle clean, hard plastics, paper, cardboard, aluminium and tin. Soft material often gets caught in the sorting machine causing breakdowns. It also contaminates the other accepted items, which makes it difficult to sell them in the recyclable markets both locally and internationally.

There is a limited soft plastic recycling service in NZ, see The Love NZ Soft Plastic Recycling programme for more information

A: Tauranga’s waste water system is designed to handle liquid wastes with only small amount of solid waste - large quantities of food waste may block sewers and cause overflows into the environment. Also, food waste in the waste water system has to be treated differently to conventional waste and the resulting sludge has to be trucked to landfill anyway. So putting food waste down the sink is an expensive and risky way to manage food waste. Disposal via the sink also wastes a resource that could be turned into compost or biofuel to improve soil condition instead.

A: Please compost your green waste (like weeds, glass trimmings) at home, sign up to a private green waste service or take it to one of the Council's transfer stations. If it goes into landfill it doesn't break down like it does in your garden or compost as it's shut off from oxygen and creates leachate (toxic liquid), methane and carbon dioxide.

A: Currently, our glass is recycled in NZ by OI to produce new glass bottles and jars using 63% recycled glass. Under the proposed new service:

  •  Aluminium & tin can be recycled in NZ
  • Plastics grades 1-2, the majority will be recycled in New Zealand with the remaining being exported overseas for recycling.
  • Paper & Cardboard -– the majority will be recycled in NZ while others will be sent overseas for recycling (mainly Asia)
  • Food scraps can be processed locally in New Zealand, and
  • Rubbish will go into landfill at Hampton Downs or Tirohia.

However this can only be confirmed after the tender process is complete and Councillors have decided to introduce the service.

A: The proposed service includes the option of 80L, 140L and 240L for your rubbish and recycling bin. This is because we recognise there are different sized households, and different levels of waste produced within households, so we want to reward those who are producing less waste with the option of the smaller, cheaper bin – while still allowing larger households who produce more waste to be covered with a slightly more expensive 240L bin.

Before the service is introduced we propose that you'll be able to select the rubbish and recycling bin size preference for your household. If you don't select your preference you will be delivered a 140L for rubbish (about the size of 2 rubbish bags) a 240L for recycling, a 45L crate for glass, a 33L bin for food scraps and kitchen caddy by default.

However, this is all dependent on the tender process and the final service confirmed by Councillors in March/April 2020.

A: Yes, we currently serve residents who find it difficult to take their glass crates to the kerb in our glass recycling service with an 'assisted service' and the proposed service would provide the same service. However, this is dependent on the tender process and the final service that is confirmed by Councillors in March/April 2020.

A.:The proposed service will be a fortnightly collection for rubbish, mixed recycling and glass recycling and a weekly collection for food scraps (to get rid of the smelly stuff quickly). Our service frequency is based on what’s been working well for other councils in New Zealand, however, this is dependent on the tender process and the final service confirmed by Councillors in March/April 2020.

A: Spreading out fortnightly collections will help reduce bin congestion at kerbside. Most smelly stuff will go out in your weekly food scraps collection, and you won’t fill up your rubbish bin as quickly because you will be using your new food scraps and recycling bins. Our standard 140L rubbish bin is more than twice the size of the current Council rubbish bags. Other Councils with a similar service in New Zealand collect rubbish fortnightly, and it means we can make the service more cost-effective overall.

How we’ll stagger the collections over a two-week cycle

In Week 1, we’ll collect rubbish and food scraps, and in Week 2 we’ll collect recycling, glass and food scraps. This means you’ll only put one large wheelie bin out at a time, helping reduce the number of bins on the kerbside on any given day.

You’ll receive a collection calendar that tells you when to put out your bins

A: If the rates-funded service is introduced, we will give households and operators plenty of notice, so they can align their private contracts with the new service starting.

A: We’d like to start it as soon as possible, however, it takes time to complete the full procurement process including designing the service (including taking community feedback into account), completing the tender process, selecting the service providers and rolling out the service. It’s likely our waste contractors will need to make large investments in infrastructure and operational capacity. With big, complex contracts like this, it takes time to get things right. If we can introduce it earlier - we will.

A: Some properties are unable to receive the proposed kerbside collections due to limited accessibility on your road from things like having a high speed limit, the road being too steep or too narrow. If your property falls into this category you will not be charged for the service in your property rates and we’ll be in touch nearer to the time of launch to let you know what you best options for rubbish and recycling are.

A: We propose retaining the current Council run recycling drop off centres, and we expect these to provide value where people have the occasional extra amount of recycling or rubbish that doesn’t fit into their wheelie bin for collection, so they can take it to the drop off centre rather than waiting for the next collection day. However, this is dependent on the tender process and the final service that is confirmed as a result.

A: We will be working directly with owners/managers/body corporates of residents in apartment complexes and retirement villages where residents don’t have the space to have a full set of bins for each household, to determine the final number and size of the bins on site, and whether there will be communal collection points, a full kerbside service, or a mix of both.

A: We are proposing spreading out fortnightly collections to help reduce congestion at kerbside. For example, in Week 1, we’ll collect rubbish and food scraps, and in Week 2 we’ll collect recycling, glass and food scraps. This means you’ll only put one large wheelie bin out at a time, helping reduce the number of bins on the kerbside on any given day.

A: We are asking for feedback from the community about whether they would prefer the service to be charge via property rates, or a ‘pay-per-throw’ charge for rubbish alone (meaning there’d still be a cost for the food scraps, recycling and glass recycling charged through property rates). Although pay-per-throw is being trialled in some parts of NZ and provides a monetary incentive for people to do the right thing (as the less rubbish they create, the less they pay), in practise, it is an inefficient system with high administrative costs. This is why our proposed service favours not using pay-per-throw, however, we are asking private waste operators to provide us with their proposal for managing a pay-per-throw service for rubbish, as well as a rates funded service, so we can weigh up the pros and cons of each approach, consider the community feedback on this question and confirm the final payment method in March/April 2020.

A: We are estimating the service will reduce the amount of household rubbish going into landfill by up to 40%. We have seen similar results from other cities in New Zealand and around the world who have introduced a similar service.

We will provide regular updates to the community on how the new service is going at reducing the amount of household waste going into landfill that could be recycled or composted instead.

A: We are expecting to be able to process all of our food scraps, recycle all of our food and drink cans and the majority of our paper and cardboard, and plastics grades 1 & 2 in New Zealand.

General information about the recycling market in New Zealand:

Paper and cardboard

The New Zealand market collects approximately 500,000 tonnes of waste paper each year. This material is collected via commercial or domestic council contracts, the majority being collected and processed by suppliers: Oji Fibre, Waste Management, Smart Environmental, Envirowaste and Visy. Once collected, depending on the collection methodology and sorting quality the material can feed into the below domestic markets:

  • Kinleith Mill (Oji) consumes cardboard
  • Penrose Mill (Oji) consumes mixed paper and cardboard
  • Huhtamaki (Auckland) consumes mixed paper and cardboard
  • Hawk (Napier) consumes mixed paper and cardboard

Paper and cardboard is also exported overseas, because we produce more paper and cardboard than we can recycle in NZ. The remaining material is predominately exported overseas to: Vietnam, Malaysia, India and Indonesia.

Plastics

There has been a lot of public confusion around which grades can be recycled in NZ, namely grades 3– 7. Whilst there was questions in the past about whether plastics 3-7 were getting recycled once they were sent overseas, since China’s National Sword policy has come into effect and has stopped accepting plastics 3-7 altogether, it has become evident there are only long-term recycling solutions available for grades 1 and 2 plastics. We have only officially accepted grades 1 & 2 plastics for recycling in Tauranga because we have never been able to guarantee plastics 3-7 were getting recycled once they were sent overseas. Once collected and sorted, the plastic is sent within New Zealand to:

  •  Pack Group (Alto) Recycle grade 1 – PET (1); Auckland
  • Replas recycle grade 2 – HDPE (2); Auckland
  • Astron Plastics recycle grades 2, 3 and 5 – HDPE (2), LDPE (3) and PP (5) (LDPE (3) & PP (5) are pre-consumer only, they do not accept any post-consumer plastic); Auckland
  • Budget Plastics recycle grades 2 & 3 – HDPE (2) and LDPE (3) (LDPE (3) is pre-consumer only); Palmerston North
  • Flight Plastics recycle grade 1 – PET (1) clear; Wellington

Because we often produce more plastics 1 & 2 than we can recycle in NZ, the remaining material is predominately exported overseas.

Tin and Aluminium cans

There are quite a few tin and aluminium cans suppliers throughout NZ, all of whom turn scrap material back into a raw material to be manufactured into another produce. One of the larger ones is Sims Pacific Metals.

Glass

TCC sends all of the glass that is collected from its glass recycling service to OI New Zealand, in Auckland approximately (6,000 tonnes per annum). Glass is one of the only packaging options that is infinitely recyclable.

A: Unfortunately if we allowed residents to opt-out this would mean the service would become too expensive to introduce city-wide and achieve our overall goal of reducing the amount of household waste going into landfill.

Although many residents have been doing the right thing by reducing the amount of rubbish they send to landfill – unfortunately not enough have been, which is why our city has one of the worst rates per capita in New Zealand for sending household rubbish to landfill.

We all need to work together to meet our goal of reducing the amount of household rubbish going into landfill that could be recycled or composted instead.

We have tailored the service to reward those in the community producing less waste overall, by giving households the option of having a smaller/cheaper wheelie-bin for the rubbish and recycling collections.

Not every resident wants to pay for every rates-funded service (for example, some might never use a library, others a skate park or rugby field), but rates ensure that the needs of the city, as a whole, are met. This rates-funded kerbside collection service is about what’s right for the environment, community and future generations - as a whole. If you don't want to use any of the four collection bins you can ask for your bin to be picked up by the council after delivery, but you'll still need to pay for the service, so we can provide the service as a whole to the community.

A. We're the only major centre in New Zealand that doesn’t provide a rates-funded kerbside collection, and we have one of the worst rates per capita in New Zealand for sending household waste to landfill. Nearly 70% of our household waste going to landfill could be composted or recycled instead.

Other cities with a similar collection have seen a significant reduction in household rubbish in landfill, benefiting their environment, the community and future generations.

Our priority is to serve the community by reducing the costs associated with managing waste in landfill, and to help our environment.

Through a combination of centralising the city-wide collection to gain economies of scale and working with waste contractors through a tender process, we are aiming to provide a better value service for the ratepayer than residents currently get with the local private waste collection operators.

A. Unfortunately, not through education alone. The Council comprehensively delivers nine different waste education programmes in the community on topics such as worm composting, waste-free parenting/living, waste education for schools, and food waste. Some of these programmes have been running for many years (education in schools, 20 years) and yet almost 70% of kerbside rubbish could be recycled or composted instead of sent to landfill. Community education is important but it's not the definitive answer to significantly reduce Tauranga’s waste to landfill. Easy access to recycling and food scraps collection services and infrastructure is essential to ensuring the community education provided can result in higher recycling and composting rates.

A.

Retirement Villages and Apartment Complexes

If you are a resident of a retirement village or apartment complex, we are reaching out directly to your village manager, property manager or body corporate to gain feedback from the property collectively about our new proposed collections. You can also provide your feedback on our proposed kerbside services by taking our survey at www.talkingtrash.co.nz, and selecting ‘retirement village or apartment complex’ in the first survey question to get specific questions related to these property types.

We’ve learnt through talking with retirement villages and apartment complexes since the launch of our glass recycling service, that a one-size-fits-all service designed for the average household in Tauranga isn’t always the best option. Particularly, we received the following feedback:

  •  frequency of collection (collections often need to take place more frequently – particularly around busy holiday periods)
  • bin sizes available (larger shared bins that don’t take up as much space are sometimes easier than smaller bins for each household)
  • charging (multi-dwelling properties prefer to be charged for the total number/size of bins on site/being collected, where communal collection points are established, instead of a charge per household)
  • responses to problems (sometimes things go wrong with collections and they need someone to contact immediately to avoid adverse effects for residents or the business).

We’re now reaching out to all retirement villages and apartment complexes, to find out what they think of the proposed rates-funded kerbside collections, and particularly, if they’d like to add any further feedback to what we’ve already received above about our current glass recycling service. While we can’t guarantee we will be able to deliver a service tailored specifically for retirement villages and apartment complexes, we will do our best to incorporate the feedback received into the new proposed kerbside.

Households on Private Roads

If your household is on a private road, to have your bins collected from the kerbside directly outside of your home, all households would need to sign a waiver saying that Council will not be responsible for any damage to the road which could result from collection truck movements. This is a standard approach taken by other Councils in New Zealand. If all households on a private road don’t sign the waiver, we are unable to collect your bins from the kerbside directly outside of your home. However, your bins will still be collected from the nearest public road instead. Anyone who requires assistance taking their bin to and from the kerbside for collection, due to a physical ailment or disability, can apply for our free, assisted service. Those living on private roads can provide their feedback on our proposed kerbside services by taking the Talking Trash survey at www.talkingtrash.co.nz, and selecting ‘private road’ in the first survey question to get specific questions related to these property types.

Those with secondary dwellings

We are proposing contacting those households with secondary dwellings in the lead up to the launch of the proposed service to determine if they would like one full set of bins for their property to share across their dwellings or would prefer two full sets – one set for each dwelling.

Maori Land

We will work with Maori Land owners in the lead up to the launch of the proposed service to determine how many full sets of bins they require where there are multiple households on one rateable property.

Commercial/businesses

Our proposed collection service is for residential properties only at this stage, and therefore doesn’t include commercial properties or businesses.

A.We are currently considering whether to provide a city-wide green waste collection. Our proposed service doesn’t include a green waste collection after weighing up the costs and benefits. For example, green waste only contributes 17% of residential waste in landfill, compared to food waste which contributes to 30% of residential landfill. Not all households create garden waste, but all create food waste. Green waste is also serviced in the current market - residents can take it to their local transfer station, compost it at home or use a green waste service from a private contractor. Council also plans to roll out a series of educational composting workshops, as a way of addressing this waste stream if the proposed service is confirmed as the final service at the completion of the tender process.

However, we will weigh up the pros and cons of providing a city-wide green waste collection (considering the community feedback and responses from waste companies to the tender process) and confirm whether green waste will be included in the final service in March/April 2020.

How can I have my say on this?

We are seeking feedback from the community on our proposed service until Friday 13th December. You can fill out an online form at talkingtrash.co.nz, or phone us on 07 577 7000 or fill in a physical feedback form in any of our libraries.

What happens next?

  • 25 November – 13 December 2019: Talking Trash community engagement campaign is live for residents to have their say on the proposed kerbside collection service
  • 16 December 2019, tender documents publicly issued for waste companies to respond to by early 2020 (includes results of community engagement campaign)
  • January 2019: community feedback received published online and emailed to those who’ve indicated they’d like it to be sent directly to them
  • March/April 2020: the final proposed service is confirmed, including any variance from the initial proposal as a result of the tender process and feedback received from the community
  • 2021: the service is rolled out in July 2021 to residential properties in the Tauranga community

Last Reviewed: 29/11/2019
 

 
 

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