News | 20 April 2022
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Decision time for the Southern Landfill

As Wellingtonians, we all create waste as we live, work and play in our city. We need to make some big decisions about what happens to that waste in this year’s Annual Plan.

An aerial view of the Southern Landfill.

The Southern Landfill is a critical piece of Wellington’s infrastructure. It buries around 100,000 tonnes of waste each year. This waste comes from kerbside rubbish collections and public waste bins, as well as domestic trailers, commercial waste operators and construction and demolition waste coming directly to the landfill.

The current landfill consents expire in June 2026, and we need to decide how we’ll dispose of Wellington’s residual waste (what’s left after we reduce, reuse, and recycle) after this date. 

We’ve developed a shortlist of three options and want to know what Wellingtonians think of them. 

Option 1: New landfill on top of existing landfill (piggyback option) – our preferred option 
This option will provide space for about 15-20 years based on current waste volumes but could provide for beyond 20 years as waste minimisation initiatives are introduced in the future.

Option 2: Waste to energy incineration
This option burns waste and uses the heat generated to produce electricity (and possibly heat).

Option 3: No residual waste facility in Wellington City
This option will involve closing the Southern Landfill and disposing of the city’s waste at other landfills in the region.

Stefan wearing a hi-vis vest standing in front of the Southern Landfill.
Waste Operations Manager Stefan Borowy.

Waste Operations Manager Stefan Borowy says that Option 1 is Council’s preferred option. It is low-risk because landfills are common and the technology is well-understood in New Zealand.

“Having a landfill will enable the Council to maintain ownership and take responsibility for the waste the city produces. It also means we can keep the current financial model, which is self-sustaining and pays for our existing waste management and minimisation services.

“Resilience is another factor. A landfill will provide a safe site for the disposal of refuse or hazardous material, which will be vital in the event of an emergency.

“Most importantly, a landfill doesn’t need to minimum volumes of waste to operate, so we can focus on waste minimisation. It may seem like a contradiction to want to extend the landfill, but we still need a solution for residual waste in the meantime while we focus on our long-term goals.”

How to have your say

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Feedback closes 5pm on Sunday 15 May 2022.