News | 8 September 2023
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Council to consider revamp of recycling and rubbish systems

Wellington City Council will decide next week whether options to revamp rubbish and recycling collections go to consultation as part of the city’s Long-term Plan process next year.

Second Treasures image 2018
Photo credit Andy Spain

The proposals being put to the Environment and Infrastructure Committee on Thursday 14 September also include options for food scrap and green waste (organic) collections, and an organics processing facility.  


The shortlisted scenarios are considered to be the most practical options to achieve objectives in the Council’s He anamata para kore mō Pōneke - Zero Waste Strategy, which Councillors unanimously approved in April this year.  


The three options to be considered all include food scraps being diverted from landfill.


An organics processing facility is being investigated and will likely be a regional facility. Wellington City Council is working with other councils within the region on this part of the project.  


The proposed organics collection and processing facility is being considered because close to 60 percent of Wellington’s household waste going to landfill is organic. Organic waste like food scraps or green waste produces methane when it breaks down in landfill, which contributes to climate change.


Diverting organic waste from landfill is a huge step towards meeting the Council’s goals of reducing waste, and carbon emissions.


Other options being considered include bespoke collections for people living in multi-unit developments, and to allow for residents living in streets that are difficult to access, or where waste requirements are different to standard collections.  


A bespoke service will be varied and could include bin depots or shared bins in apartment and townhouse complexes, continuing bagged collection of rubbish and recycling where needed, or providing bin depots or shared bins on public land where there is no private land available.  


Chief Infrastructure Officer Siobhan Procter says the three options were landed on after an extensive process by council officers.  


“One of the key objectives of our Zero Waste Strategy is to treat landfill capacity as a finite resource, and to reduce waste to landfill by 50 percent by 2030. We need to change the way we do things to ensure we’re a resilient city for decades to come, and to meet our zero waste and net-zero carbon goals.”


“We are currently in the process of applying for funding from MFE (Ministry for the Environment — Manatū Mō Te Taiao), which if successful will cover up to 50 percent of the organics processing facility. The cost of which and the collection service chosen will be determined by the consultation process and commercial case proposals.” 


Environment and Infrastructure Committee Chair Councillor Tamatha Paul says the proposed changes are essential so all Wellingtonians can do their part to reduce waste and carbon emissions. 


“We need to set up the right systems to make that possible, and redesigning how we collect rubbish and recycling is a critical piece of the puzzle. 


“We encourage everyone to have their say, as these proposals affect all Wellingtonians and the future of our city.”


Deputy Mayor Laurie Foon says she’s delighted an organics collection and processing facility or facilities are also on the cards.  

“As part of our commitments to reducing waste, removing organics from our waste is the next critical step. These changes are proposed to make it easier for Wellingtonians to reduce waste to landfill, and in a way that won’t cost them the earth.”  

The options to be considered for public consultation as part of the Long-term Plan next year also include a targeted rate for waste collection that could begin in 2026/27.


Many other councils fund their waste collection services with a flat charge per household via a targeted rate, including Auckland, Tauranga, Hamilton and Christchurch.


Detailed proposals for the rate will be developed by council staff if Councillors agree for the options to be consulted on as part of the Long-term Plan process next year.  


The Council will also consider a recommendation that the city’s resource recovery network be expanded. Resource recovery means taking items that could go to landfill and instead reselling, fixing or repurposing them.  


The proposal is to create a ‘hub and spoke’ model where the Tip Shop at the Southern Landfill could be expanded and becomes the main hub, and Wellingtonians could also access resource recovery centres around the city.  


The first would be at the Sustainability Trust on Forrester’s Lane, with a view to create two more centres by 2026, which would provide services like repair cafes, education, and taking and selling goods.  


Councillors will consider the two business cases on Thursday 14 September.