Finding new ways to manage waste
Rubbish isn’t exactly a riveting subject but, while we are becoming better recyclers, the amount of waste sent to landfill is also increasing and will end up costing us more financially, and an environmental impact in the years to come.
Fellow councillor Paul Cronin and I represent the district on a committee with Hauraki and Thames-Coromandel district councils for the Joint Waste Minimisation and Management Plan (WMMP) which is currently under review.
The reviewed plan will determine how we manage waste in the future and it’s important you have your say since, as a ratepayer, you will ultimately be paying for the services and initiatives that come from it.
We are looking at a suite of 10 initiatives for this 10-year-plan and would like to know if you support them, and which should be prioritised.
Among them is the possibility of setting up a recovery centre in Matamata like the communityrun Seagull Centre in Thames which would see items upcycled, get a second life and avoid or at least defer disposal to landfill.
Our kerbside collection programme has been up and running in its current form since 2013, which has seen recycling volumes increase substantially.
This is a great start and we hope to see even larger volumes of recyclables collected as it continues.
There is also the possibility of extending recycling services to our rural areas.
So no matter whether you live in town or in the country, I believe now is the time to seriously put into practice the 5Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Recovery and Residual disposal.
We’re generally pretty good at reusing/repurposing but need to up our game in the other areas.
It is simply not good practice to put recyclable material into landfills or farm dumps.
Councils have a role to play in supporting communities to do the right thing and are seeking to continually improve performance but it is ultimately up to the people to make the difference.
I encourage you to have your say on the WMMPand help shape the future of waste minimisation and management in our district.
-Matamata ward district councillor Adrienne Wilcox is also chairwoman of the Agrecovery Foundation which runs a nationwide product stewardship scheme in the collection and recycling of agrichemicals and their containers for 68 levy paying brands and is also on the governance group for the NZ Rural Waste Minimisation Project.
Matamata could set up a recovery centre like the Seagull Centre already operating in Thames.
Adrienne Wilcock is on the Joint Waste Minimisation and Management Plan committee.