Have your say on the future of waste reduction in our district

The world is filling up with waste and New Zealand is no exception. If we’re serious about making Matamata-Piako the place people choose to live in the Waikato, we need to think about our future.  

We have a limited number of options for disposing of waste to landfill.  These landfills are filling up fast. This means that we are facing a big challenge. Not only do we need to achieve a significant reduction in the amount of stuff we are throwing away, but we also need to find the next suitable site for a landfill and keep the cost of waste disposal at affordable levels.

We have been doing great work as a district - we’ve increased the percentage of waste diverted from landfill from around 30% in 2012/13 to 48% in 2015/16. However, the total amount of waste we are sending to landfill is still increasing – growing from 335 kilograms per household in 2015/16 to an estimated 365 kilograms per household in 2016/17. This is based on Councils collection systems.

This is enough rubbish to fill 80 Olympic-sized swimming pools, or an area the size of a rugby field, 18 metres high. We want to increase the amount of recycling and bring down the overall amount of waste we are sending to landfill.

 

How you can have your say

Submissions closed on 2 July 2017

Please note that all submissions and submitters details will be made available for public inspection.

 

 

What are we going to do about it?

Council has been working through a review of its Joint Waste Minimisation and Management Plan with Hauraki and Thames-Coromandel District Councils. The Plan aims to encourage people to minimise household rubbish and become more sustainable. Following on from this work, we need to agree on our district’s approach to waste minimisation as part of our plans for the next 10 years, which will take effect from 1 July 2018.  

Council is investigating a suite of 10 initiatives, which are set out below, as part of this 10 year plan and we’d like to know if you support them and if so, what you think our priorities should be.

 

1. Encouraging the development of a resource recycling centre in conjunction with community groups.

One way to divert waste from landfill is to give people a convenient place to drop off reusable items of all kinds when at transfer stations.

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2. Creating a waste minimisation grant to support practical on-the-ground waste minimisation projects.

Council has recently completed a review of the Waste Minimisation Management Plan with a vision ‘To minimise waste to landfill and maximise community benefit.’

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3. Giving more visibility to waste minimisation initiatives such as Para Kore and the ‘Love Food, Hate Waste’ campaign.

There are many waste minimisation initiatives already underway across our district and nationwide. External campaigns such as Para Kore and Love Food Hate Waste are examples of resources that are currently available to our community. 

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4. Changing to a rubbish bag system that gives people an incentive to reduce their waste.

One of the ways we can minimise waste is to change to a rubbish bag system that gives people an incentive to reduce their waste.

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5. Exploring the possibility of changing to wheelie bins for waste collection in the future - if it can help us reduce waste.

Some councils are moving to wheelie bins not just for recycling, but for a more efficient and cleaner waste disposal service as well.

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6. Revisiting the viability of recycling services into rural areas.

Right now, if you live rurally and want to recycle you need to drop your recycling off at one of our three transfer stations.

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7. Increasing our support of educational programmes in our community.

Council currently provides funding to Enviroschools to provide waste minimisation and environmental sustainability education resources to interested schools and early childhood centres.

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8. Providing advice to local businesses and community groups to encourage sustainability initiatives.

Councils around the country are facing the same challenge as Matamata-Piako, and initiatives to reduce waste and encourage reuse, recovery and recycling are gaining traction both online and on the ground. 

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9. Reviewing how our transfer stations are laid out

We have three Refuse Transfer Stations and Recycling Centres at Matamata, Morrinsville and Waihou. Free recycling facilities are available at all three sites for recycling plastic grades 1 to 7.

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10. Aiming for a zero-waste target in 2045, this would mean looking at more initiatives in the future to achieve this target.  

What if we sent no waste to landfills? Can you imagine a future where everything is reused or recycled? 

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Who pays?

It makes financial and environmental sense to reduce our waste. Reducing waste will mean reducing the costs for our community to dispose of waste. Landfills are expensive to create, run and maintain – even after they have been closed. Filling up landfills at a slower rate also means they will have a longer lifetime. Council will need to fund investigations into a new landfill in its next 10 year budget. This will need to be funded from the solid waste targeted rate. 

We receive around $90,000 each year from the central government waste minimisation fund, which needs to be used for waste minimisation initiatives. We plan to use this to help fund these initiatives. 

However, if we are serious about doing more to protect our environment we will need to fund more each year from the solid waste rate to make an impact on waste reduction. We think we will need to fund between $50,000 and $100,000 per year – depending on what work we do.