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Auckland City aims for zero waste in ten years

4 February 2005

Auckland City aims for zero waste in ten years

Auckland City’s commitment to zero waste has taken a step forward with the Works and Services Committee resolving to adopt a policy with the aim of having zero waste to landfill by 2015.

To become a zero waste council, a resolution to that effect from a full council meeting is required.

The committee resolution recognises that zero waste is a philosophy and needs to be progressively implemented.

Councillor Bill Christian, deputy chairperson of the Works and Services Committee, said figures showed that the amount of rubbish going to landfill was continuing to slowly increase.

“In 2001, when the bin size in Auckland city went down to 120 litres, there was a significant decrease in the amount of rubbish that council collected going to landfill. However, since then we are seeing a small increase each year - although this is happening as the city’s population grows,” he said.

“The good news is that, at the same time, there have been small increases each year in the amount of material being collected for recycling which indicates that our existing recycling programmes are working, but not to the fullest potential. We need to build on the willingness of Auckland city residents to play their part, and work in partnership with them, industry and other governmental agencies, to work towards achieving zero waste to landfill by 2015.”

Regular waste audits show that three quarters of what currently goes to landfill could be composted or recycled. The biggest component of this is food waste.

The Works and Services Committee also resolved to consider taking a regional approach on the issue and work with other zero waste councils.

“The amount of material going to landfill and the associated environmental and financial costs is an issue facing all councils. It makes sense for all of us to work together to save both time and resources,” said Mr Christian.

New initiatives required to move towards zero waste will be addressed as part of the review of the isthmus section of Auckland City’s Waste Management Plan.

Work began on this review in 2004 and the public will have the chance to comment on it when it goes out for consultation later this year.

Council officers have been asked to investigate the costs associated with moving towards zero waste.

The ultimate goal of the zero waste philosophy is to minimise and eventually eliminate waste through activities such as:
- recycling
- designing products to enable them to be repaired instead of discarded
- reuse of resources
- composting
- more efficient resource use
- reducing consumption


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