Send­ing build­ing waste to a land­fill

Kapiti News - - News -

A re­cent re­port to the Welling­ton Re­gion Waste Man­age­ment and Min­imi­sa­tion Joint Com­mit­tee said it’s es­ti­mated that ap­prox­i­mately 578,000 tonnes of construction and de­mo­li­tion waste is be­ing dis­posed of to land­fills ev­ery year in the Welling­ton re­gion.

The re­port con­cluded that “much of this waste will be po­ten­tially re­cov­er­able (brick and con­crete, tim­ber, plas­ter­board and metal), construction and de­mo­li­tion waste has the po­ten­tial to be a pri­or­ity waste stream tar­geted by coun­cils as a means to re­duce waste to land­fill”.

I rep­re­sent GWRC on that Joint Com­mit­tee, and while re­gional coun­cils aren’t re­spon­si­ble for the pro­vi­sion of rub­bish dis­posal, we are in­volved in other parts of the process.

We’re re­spon­si­ble for re­source con­sents and this is an area where the man­age­ment of waste ma­te­ri­als off a site, for ex­am­ple a large construction site, is of keen in­ter­est to re­gional coun­cil.

Also re­gional coun­cils have the re­spon­si­bil­ity for farm waste — which as recorded in the re­port to the Joint com­mit­tee is a huge un­known. Essen­tially we can only of­fer guesses as to the scale of il­le­gal dump­ing on ru­ral prop­er­ties — but there has been an his­toric cul­ture and while many have mod­ern farm­ing prac­tices, this is an area that we need to get more in­for­ma­tion on.

There are a range of po­ten­tial ac­tions that will en­able and em­power coun­cils to ad­dress the construction and de­mo­li­tion waste is­sues, ei­ther by way of pol­icy changes or through op­er­a­tional in­vest­ment — but that al­ways in­volves money which must ei­ther come from ser­vice user charges or rates.

The cur­rent think­ing from the Joint Com­mit­tee for op­tions in­clude: a by­law to en­able reg­u­la­tory in­ter­ven­tion (but hav­ing a con­sis­tent ap­proach right across the re­gion is es­sen­tial); coun­cils chang­ing their pro­cure­ment poli­cies (in which in would re­quire sus­tain­able waste min­imi­sa­tion prac­tises from busi­nesses sell­ing prod­ucts or ser­vices to a coun­cil); and es­tab­lish­ing pro­cess­ing ca­pac­ity by in­vest­ing in dry waste pro­cess­ing, in con­crete pro­cess­ing, and even mak­ing construction and de­mo­li­tion waste pro­cess­ing ar­eas avail­able. Plenty to process in among all that. It’s worth not­ing that with the sig­nif­i­cant de­mo­li­tion work that has been un­der­taken re­cently at Cen­trePort with earth­quake-dam­aged build­ings be­ing re­moved, large mounds of con­crete from those build­ings have been stock­piled at Kai­wharawhara ready to re-use. So it can be, and is be­ing done in some ar­eas al­ready.

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