Solid waste trials are a solid success
The kerbside collection service trials in the urban areas of Dannevirke, Woodville, Eketāhuna and Pahiatua have been successfully completed with positive results. These have provided valuable information on the rubbish and recycling habits of residents, which has provided Council with solid evidence for waste reduction actions and strategies going forward.
The four-month kerbside services trial was held in ten households in Dannevirke, Eketāhuna, Pahiatua and Woodville. Each of the 40 households was provided with a 120 litre recycling bin, an 80 litre rubbish bin, and a crate for glass which were all collected fortnightly, as well as a food waste crate which was collected weekly. Council’s Solid Waste Officer examined, categorised, and compiled data of the solid waste disposal.
One of the main findings was that over a four-month trial period a total of around 1500 kg of solid waste was generated, of which only about a third – 500 kg - was actual rubbish. The remaining 1000 kg consisted of items which could have been recycled. “This trial has proved that if you provide recycling and food waste bins, and inform people how to use them, we will be able to drastically reduce the amount of rubbish to landfill. By increasing kerbside waste collection services, we will be able to meet our waste minimisation targets,” according to Marco Alben, Tararua District Council Project Manager. “Furthermore, we have received feedback that 70 per cent of people want this kerbside waste collection service,” Marco adds.
Another trial was conducted focussing solely on glass disposal. This trial involved distributing glass collection crates to households in Dannevirke and Woodville. Over a period of two months 3.3 tonnes of glass was collected from 1000 households at kerbside. Normally, glass collection at the glass transfer stations for the full population of both towns would amount to an average of 6.2 tonnes over a two-month period. This indicates that significant amounts of glass go straight to landfill without being recycled. In fact, data has shown that about seven per cent of all waste at the landfill site consists of glass. “We can conclude that having glass recycling crates collected at kerbside will result in a much higher recycling rate than the current available services, where people have to bring glass to transfer stations,” according to Marco. Additionally, through kerbside glass collection, non-glass items such as lids, caps and covers, which are normally highly prevalent in glass disposal at transfer stations, can be removed. This reduces contamination issues by stopping them at the source.
Despite earlier initiatives, the Tararua District was previously not meeting its waste minimisation targets. Because of this, the waste levy received from Central Government was at risk. Waste reduction reviews such as the kerbside service and glass collection trial will help to make sure this doesn’t happen, and further improve waste reduction outcomes. The findings of both trials have also allowed Council to make informed decisions on how Tararua will continue to manage its waste. Following public submissions to Tararua’s Long Term Plan and evidence gained from both trials, Council will meet in August 2021 to discuss the recommendation to roll out additional kerbside glass and recycling services. If the recommendation is adopted, we would likely see the new services starting in August 2022. Residents in urban areas of the district will be provided with a glass collection container and a wheelie-bin for recyclable plastics 1, 2 and 5, cardboard, and tin. Council will further investigate possibilities and impacts to the local economy of having rubbish bins for kerbside collection by August 2024.