Waste generated equates to a ‘polar bear’ per person
Waipā residents generate around 500kg of waste each per year, about the weight of a mid-sized polar bear.
But at least half of that shouldn’t end up in landfill at all and mayor Susan O’Regan says collectively we can – and must – do something about it.
“It’s challenging because as our population grows, our waste is increasing. There are huge costs involved in dealing with that waste which ratepayers right across the district pick up,” she said.
“The good news is, on a per person basis, the amount of waste generated in Waipā is static and that’s not the case in many other parts of New Zealand. But the fact is, as a community we generate too much waste, and together we need to do something about it.”
O’Regan’s comments come as Council prepares to float a range of proposals aimed at helping Waipā minimise waste over the next six years. Council’s waste minimisation plan must be reviewed every six years for Council to continue receiving the government’s waste levy, worth close to $400,000 yearly, and climbing. The levy funds most of Council’s waste minimisation activities
O’Regan said the draft plan Waste Less, Do More contained a suite of proposals, from a potential kerbside food waste collection service to a complete rethink of how rubbish across the district is collected. But the key to resolving waste issues was reducing the amount generated in the first place, she said.
“Our audits show 12 per cent of stuff thrown in our rubbish bins could have, and should have been recycled. More than half of the stuff we toss out is organic waste – mainly food or garden waste – that ends up in landfill producing methane. Surely we can do better than that.”
Recycling contamination across the district continues to be a problem, she said. Council estimates about 10 per cent of Waipā households use recycling bins as rubbish containers, putting contractors and sorting staff at risk and costing ratepayers thousands of dollars each year.
“There are a lot of things for us to think about but waste is not something Council can deal with alone. Developing solutions to our waste challenge is a joint responsibility and that’s what we’re looking for feedback on.”
Consultation on Council’s draft plan ‘Waste Less, Do More’ begins next week with engagement opportunities planned around the district. A website www.wastelesswaipa.co.nz will be live from next Monday. Formal consultation closes on Sunday, April 23.
Further background on the waste minimisation plan here.