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City to work towards zero waste

19 May 2004

City to work towards zero waste

Auckland City is to adopt a zero waste philosophy to address the rising amounts of waste going to landfill.

The philosophy was accepted by Auckland City’s Works Committee today and will be addressed in the city’s waste management plan review, now underway.

A report to the committee says a lot of progress has been made in waste reduction since changes to waste services began in July 2001, but further initiatives are needed.

After the 2001 changes, the amount of collected rubbish collected that was going to landfill decreased by a third and the amount recycled was up by the same amount.

“However, the amount of waste going to landfill is starting to increase again at around 5 per cent a year,” says Councillor Bill Christian, chairperson of the council’s Works Committee.

Audits have shown that about three-quarters of rubbish is compostable or recyclable.

The zero waste philosophy has been promoted by the Zero Waste New Zealand Trust. The Trust explains zero waste as: aiming to eliminate rather than just ‘manage’ waste a guiding design philosophy for eliminating waste at the source encouraging waste diversion through recycling and resource recovery re-designing the current one-way industrial system into a cyclical system helping communities develop local economies and provide a measure of self-sufficiency.

Mr Christian says Auckland City cannot implement or influence all of these, but some important steps could be taken at a city-wide level.

“Adopting zero waste is a long-term and complex process. To implement a rigorous and effective zero waste policy will require more financial and human resources. We are committed to working towards zero waste but we need to work very closely with community and business partners and central government to achieve it,” says Mr Christian.

“Zero waste cannot be fully achieved until materials that contribute to waste, such as packaging, are controlled through central government action.”

Auckland City adopted the New Zealand Waste Strategy in 2002 as a framework for waste planning. The strategy is based on similar principles and works “towards zero waste”.

Ends

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