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Councils join forces to reduce waste & save money

Councils join forces to reduce waste and save money

January 14, 2005

Waitakere City and North Shore City will introduce 'wheelie bins' for kerbside recycling as part of a joint initiative to provide a cleaner, more efficient and easier-to-use waste collection service.

The councils have together signed a 10-year contract with the Onyx Group for the collection of all rubbish, recycling and paper in both cities. Using the same fleet of vehicles will save the two cities up to $900,000 a year.

It is the largest waste collection contract ever signed in New Zealand, and the first time that mobile recycling bins (MRBs) will be used for collecting recycling. The new service will begin on July 1, and the bins will be provided free of charge to every household, school and participating commercial premise.

The 140-litre mobile bins, coloured navy blue with yellow lids, are three times the size of the old recycling bins. The larger capacity will allow the councils to collect every second week.

In addition, the mobile recycling bins are easier to use, safer for the collector, and are proven to reduce waste and minimise street litter.

Both cities have committed to the zero waste concept and there is an increasing focus on recycling and reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill.

The new service will include other recycling and resource recovery initiatives designed to encourage householders and businesses to minimise the amount of waste sent to landfill. A kitchen waste collection is being considered for later in the year.

North Shore City Mayor George Wood says apart from the obvious environmental benefits, the cost of sending waste to landfill will become a great deal more expensive in future. "The time has now come to really step up the campaign to reduce the amount of rubbish that is produced and disposed of from our cities," he says.

"North Shore and Waitakere Cities have been leaders in environmental initiatives and this revolutionary change will further strengthen our position as leading-edge councils in terms of waste minimisation and recycling."

The new policy sets the direction for other councils in New Zealand, says the chair of Waitakere's finance and operational performance committee, Janet Clews. "We are bringing our waste bylaws in line with each other. By sharing collection services we achieve cost benefits and will initiate other changes to drive down the amount of rubbish that is dumped," she says.

There is strong support for the changes if a North Shore City trial last year is anything to go by. The 14-week trial in Takapuna of mobile recycling bins and kitchen waste collection was supported enthusiastically by participating residents.

The wheelie bin collection achieved an 11 per cent reduction in refuse disposal to landfill relative to existing services, and the kitchen waste collection was down by 24 per cent. In addition, the average refuse bag weight dropped by 25 per cent, and the number of bags set out each week fell by 14 per cent.

All recyclable materials from both cities will be taken to Waitakere City Council's Refuse Transfer Station, which has already established significant resource recovery operations and a New Zealand first green waste composting operation. Onyx Group will assemble a purpose-built fleet and construct a new sorting facility at the Transfer Station.

Another change under the new contract for the two cities will see the inorganic collection now take place over 20 weeks instead of the 42 at present. This will reduce problems of illegal dumping and achieve collection efficiencies and cost savings.

There will be no change to the regular refuse collection, which will continue on a weekly basis.

More information on the new service starting on July 1 will be provided to the residents in both cities over the next few months.

(ends)


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