Waste Man­age­ment

Element - - BUSINESS -

The Coun­cil’s fi­nalised Waste Man­age­ment and Min­imi­sa­tion Plan is so com­pre­hen­sive and am­bi­tious it has the po­ten­tial to put the city among the world lead­ers in this field. Auck­land cur­rently pro­duces a third of the na­tion’s waste and spends $65 mil­lion a year deal­ing with it. If the Coun­cil’s as­pi­ra­tional goal be­comes re­al­ity, by 2040 this waste will be com­pleted elim­i­nated. All ma­te­ri­als will be re­cy­cled in one way or an­other and vir­tu­ally noth­ing will go to land­fill.

In the mean­time, for ur­ban ar­eas, this will mean fort­nightly ‘dis­poser-pays’ kerb­side refuse wheelie bin col­lec­tions, in sizes rang­ing from 60 to 240 litres. It will cost about $2.50 per lift for an 80-litre bin. In ru­ral ar­eas the same ser­vice will be sup­ple­mented with ‘dis­poser pays’ pre­paid bags in some ar­eas. There will also be par­al­lel fort­nightly rates-funded kerb­side re­cy­cling wheelie bin col­lec­tions, in sizes rang­ing from 140 to 360 litres, with the aim of con­tin­u­ally ex­pand­ing the range of ma­te­ri­als re­cy­cled.

The cur­rent in­or­ganic col­lec­tions will re­main, and ur­ban ar­eas will also ben­e­fit from a new rate-funded or­ganic waste col­lec­tion, although whether this will be food only or in­clude garden waste is as yet un­clear. The po­ten­tial byprod­ucts of or­ganic waste can be a rich re­source – ei­ther through straight com­post­ing or, as in many cities around the world us­ing biodi­gesters, turn­ing house­hold waste to meth­ane (burned to cre­ate elec­tric­ity or heat) and nat­u­ral com­post fer­tiliser.

There is also pro­vi­sion for a part-sub­sided re­cy­cling col­lec­tion for domestic type waste from com­mer­cial prop­er­ties, so that it be­comes eco­nom­i­cal to re­cy­cle from work lunch rooms and desk-side bins.

The coun­cil also plans a re­gion-wide re­source re­cov­ery net­work, in­clud­ing fa­cil­i­ties for haz­ardous waste and con­struc­tion and de­mo­li­tion ma­te­rial drop-off. And it will be­gin lob­by­ing government for changes in the law that would pro­mote waste min­imi­sa­tion na­tion­wide. This would in­clude ad­vo­cacy of Con­tainer De­posit Leg­is­la­tion and the devel­op­ment of prod­uct ste­ward­ship schemes for elec­tronic waste, tyres, bat­ter­ies, nap­pies and more, where the prod­ucts’ man­u­fac­tur­ers would share re­spon­si­bil­ity for re­ceiv­ing and pro­cess­ing the waste th­ese things gen­er­ate. And on a sim­i­lar note it will call for an ex­ten­sion to the Waste Min­imi­sa­tion Act that will give in­dus­try the same re­spon­si­bil­i­ties for waste re­duc­tion as lo­cal au­thor­i­ties.

It rep­re­sents a rev­o­lu­tion in the way we think about waste, and will be backed with ed­u­ca­tion and com­mu­nity sup­port to en­sure the pop­u­la­tion gets be­hind it.

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