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Why we need to change


We need to address Tauranga’s waste problem. Over 68% of the kerbside waste Tauranga sends to landfill has the potential to be recycled or composted. 

That’s the equivalent of throwing 417 tonnes (or about an A380 Airbus) of unnecessary waste into landfill each week and a lot of trucks on the road to get it there!

Proposed Service - recycling bins

As a city, we need to do something about this. We need to make some changes to protect our environment, and our community now and in the future.

A Tauranga City Council managed kerbside collection service would provide recycling bins to all households making it easy for everyone to recycle. It would also enable the Council to have greater influence over the range of materials that could be recycled (such as food waste, glass, and all plastics) which is not currently possible with privately managed services.

Good reasons for change

  • All households will have access to the collection services, and many will be able to recycle and compost more, resulting in an estimated 20% decrease in waste to landfill (1mb pdf).
  • Private collection contractors decide which materials they accept for recycling and composting, currently limiting the recovery of certain materials (e.g. glass, plastics 3-7, food waste, etc.) and not diverting them from landfill.
  • With control of Tauranga’s kerbside waste volumes, Council will have greater influence over what can and can’t be recycled and composted.  We will have the opportunity to consider a wider range of materials (such as food waste, glass and all plastics) which will result in more resource recovery and less landfill waste.
  • A centralised service will enable a reduction in truck emissions from fewer, more streamlined collection routes and reduced landfill emissions as we recycle and compost more. 
  • Increased recycling enables the recovery and reuse of materials so we use less of the world’s non-renewable resources.
  • The modelled proposal shows that a council-led service is likely to cost $250 per household annually (1mb pdf). As Tauranga households currently pay an average of $329 per annum (2mb pdf) for private kerbside collection services, it means the average household will be paying about $80 less per annum.

    Or instead of a flat rate for all households, a combination approach of a flat rate and user-pays could be considered (i.e. a similar system to how Council water rates are charged). This would encourage households to reduce the amount of rubbish they create and reward those who do with a lower charge.
  • A centralised, Council-led service will provide savings on the costs of managing our waste through economies of scale. This can’t be achieved effectively through smaller, private collections.
  • Centrally managed collections will provide industry with confidence to invest in improved processing infrastructure and technologies to optimally manage our waste. It also has the potential to create new employment opportunities locally. 
  • Private providers set their own service costs to customers – leaving them vulnerable to price increases and the environment vulnerable to increased landfill if people can’t afford to participate in recycling and composting (unless they have compost systems at home).
  • Landfill prices are increasing (levies are set by the NZ Government). These costs are passed on to households so it’s in everyone’s interest to recycle and compost more.
  • Complex treatment systems at landfills to keep toxic gases and harmful leachate out of our environment are expensive. Households end up paying for this through their waste disposal costs so it pays to send less to landfill.
  • A centralised service allows for efficiencies in truck requirements and collection frequencies, meaning fewer trucks clogging up our streets less often. 
  • Savings on fuel, machinery, wear and tear on roads, and vehicles can be made by minimising and optimising collection routes.
  • Tauranga’s population is growing, increasing the amount of waste we need to manage year on year. If we don’t make any change to the way we manage waste, by 2026 it is projected that we will be sending around 100,000 tonnes of waste (about 240 x A380 Airbuses) to landfill each year. This is environmentally unsustainable – we need to take action to reduce the amount of waste we create, and recycle and compost more.
  • As a community we are sometimes confused about what can and can’t be recycled and composted. With a central, standard collection, Council can provide consistent, accurate information about how to recycle correctly. Currently there are six different licensed kerbside collection operators in Tauranga who have variations in service levels and material allowances that can cause community confusion. 
  • There are still many people who don’t understand the importance of reducing rubbish, recycling and composting. With a council-led service there are better opportunities to educate the whole community about it and why it’s the right thing to do. 
  • Tauranga aspires to be an internationally competitive city that offers a high standard of living for its community. Managing our city’s waste responsibly and protecting our environment contributes to this vision.
  • Other cities around the country (such as Christchurch, Auckland and Hamilton) are achieving higher rates of diversion from landfill than Tauranga and aim to become ‘waste free’ or have ‘zero waste’ – we need to step up.
  • Tauranga is the largest city in NZ left with mostly private-led collection services. Other cities before us have researched options and concluded that one centrally managed service is the most effective option for successfully reducing kerbside waste to landfill. This rates-funded solution is not a new concept.

Last Reviewed: 06/06/2018

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