Wellington Scoop

Plan to reduce rubbish going to landfill could bring collection of unwanted food

News from Wellington City Council
Wellington residents are being encouraged to give their thoughts on plans to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the city’s landfill by a third – including a proposal to look at the pros and cons of providing kerbside food and garden waste collections.

All the councils in the Wellington region have been seeking feedback on the draft Wellington Region Waste Management and Minimisation Plan at the same time as they engage on their annual plans.

The Wellington City Council’s consultation on the draft waste plan begins today. Submissions close on 19 May.

Mayor Justin Lester says encouraging Wellingtonian residents and businesses to recycle more, and finding better ways to manage and reduce the waste going to the landfill are two of the ways the city is working towards a more sustainable future.

“We’re working with all the other councils of the region on this, and have an ambitious collective target to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the region’s landfills by a third over the next 10 years.”

“We want to work with businesses and residents to reduce the total amount ending up in the landfill from 600 kilograms per person per year to 400 kilograms by 2026, and then look at what more we can do.”

Chairperson of the Waste Management and Minimisation Plan Joint Committee, Wellington City Councillor Iona Pannett, says organic waste, including food and garden waste, makes up about 32 percent of the waste that ends up in the region’s landfills, which is why an investigation into more kerbside services is proposed.

Christchurch already has an organic collection, and Auckland Council announced this month that it plans to introduce a citywide food waste collection over the next few years.

“Our draft waste plan also proposes investigating ways we could beneficially use the sewage sludge that currently goes into the landfill, which would have the dual benefit of helping to lower our greenhouse gas emissions,” she says.

“We are also proposing to develop a better a resource recovery network so more materials are diverted from the landfill and reused. This could include facilities for processing food and green waste, and finding alternatives for construction materials. All these things are big landfill contributors.”

More information, including our latest waste assessment, the statement of proposal, and the draft plan can be found at http://www.wgtnregionwasteplan.govt.nz. Submissions can be made online. Reference copies of the documents and FreePost submission forms are also at libraries.

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  1. Mike, 19. April 2017, 7:25

    That’s a terrible idea. Curbside drop-offs for food will stink and attract animals. Reusable food drops should be done at the current food drop off centers (at no extra costs).

    The WCC landfill is not sorting and diverting enough. And the tip shop needs to recycle more at less of a profit seeking mode (ie stop raising prices) and should have a wood section for free/low cost firewood. So many recyclable things are dumped – it is sad. And green fill can currently be dumped at the tip for lesser cost than other garbage.
    P.S the people who work at the tip are very friendly and helpful.

  2. Troy H, 19. April 2017, 10:25

    We don’t do nearly enough recycling, repairing and sorting, but the WCC starting expensive “curbside dumping” of food is a stupid idea. We shouldn’t have to pay for “submissions on stupidity”.

  3. Sekhmet Bast Ra, 20. April 2017, 14:28

    You’re correct Mike, food scraps left for pickup are going to be odoriferous, but let’s be fair, it will be the scent of vibrant eco-friendly sustainability. When it comes to attracting critters, the council is probably thinking in the terms of a 100% success of the predator free program. Once all non indigenous fauna is dealt with by the iron fist of environmentalism, there will not be any critters left to be attracted to food scraps.

    The denizens that fall into the category of ‘native biodiversity’ do not tend to dine on scraps, so we will not have to worry about scraps attracting them. On the off chance native fauna has a bout of 100th monkey syndrome and adjusts itself to go for the food scraps, then native birds, lizards and insects congregating around the food recycling bins will attract lots more tourists which will be such a boost to the economy the organic waste recycling program will pay for itself in no time.

    On the other hand there is the matter of public health. We can only imagine what diseases will be propagated on a hot day when food scraps are left out for collection. Probably not as much of a threat to public health as the scourge of toxoplasmosis, so long as the scraps are strictly vegan, but in all seriousness, the potential threat to public health from food waste left out for collection is something the council needs to consider.