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Waitakere passes innovative waste bylaw

June 30, 2005

Waitakere passes innovative waste bylaw

Waitakere City last night passed a new bylaw that is regarded as the most progressive waste minimisation programme ever proposed by local government.

The council has joined forces with North Shore City to formally address all aspects of the region’s waste, including collection and disposal, “scavenging” of inorganic rubbish, the distribution of unsolicited mail, waste management facilities and waste collection operations.

Rodney District Council is also expected to pass the bylaw in July.

The changes replace the Councils’ existing waste bylaw, which they had a statutory obligation to review by 2008.

The main objective of the bylaw is to standardise the city’s waste management activities and support a number of national waste initiatives and central government legislation, which include the New Zealand Waste Strategy (a joint effort between the Ministry for the Environment and Local Government New Zealand), “Zero Waste” policies, the Litter Act, Health Act, and Local Government Act.

“The reasons we have passed this bylaw are obvious,” says Councillor Vanessa Neeson, chair of the Council’s Planning and Regulatory Committee. “Rubbish is increasing at astronomical rates and so are the environmental consequences of dealing with it. We need to do more to discourage the people who are creating rubbish and littering our streets.”

Following is a brief summary what Waitakere City Council’s waste bylaw covers and the rationale underpinning each section. Complete copies of the bylaw can be obtained by contacting the 24-hour Call Centre on 839 0400.

Levies and licenses Summary: Businesses and individuals involved in waste collection, transportation and disposal will be required to obtain a license. The councils will enter into consultation early next year to determine what levies may be required. Rationale: The aim is to make people more responsible for the rubbish they generate. The user pays for the rising costs of disposing of rubbish.

Inorganic collections & scavenging Summary: It will be an offence to remove inorganic waste placed out for collection if: 1) it is repeatedly being taken for the purpose of resale or commercial gain; or 2) it is removed in a manner likely to cause injury; or 3) it is scattered, damaged or broken in such a fashion that it could become a nuisance. Note: this part of the bylaw does not apply to licensed waste collectors contracted to Council. Rationale: The councils have an obligation to ensure they provide a safe and orderly inorganic rubbish collection service.

Distributing unaddressed, unsolicited material This part of the bylaw will not become operational until July 1, 2006. The Council is working closely with the Marketing Association to develop a national code of practice aimed at regulating the distribution of unsolicited advertising material based on these guidelines. If the outcome of this code meets the council’s expectations then this part of the bylaw may be revoked.

Summary: It will be an offence to distribute or authorise the distribution of any unaddressed or unsolicited material - including newspapers, community newspapers, community newsletters, public notices, charity appeal notices and any unaddressed, unsolicited advertising material (e.g. circulars, leaflets, brochures, flyers or magazines) - to a letterbox marked “addressed mail only.” If letterboxes are marked “addressed mail and newspapers only,” then addressed mail, newspapers, community newsletters and public notices are permitted. If letterboxes are marked “no junk mail,” “no advertising material,” or “no circulars,” then newspapers, community newsletters, public notices, and charity appeal notices are permitted.

Rationale: The aim is to reduce the significant amount of waste and litter generated as a result of the distribution of unsolicited advertising. Much like central government’s proposed anti-SPAM legislation, the council is telling businesses not to distribute their direct advertising to people who clearly indicate they don’t want it.

A recent analysis of Waitakere City street litter shows that 16.6% is junk mail. The analysis also shows that the junk mail content of litter increases by a massive 33% on the day it is delivered, costing councils tens of thousands of ratepayer dollars to clean up the mess.

Managing waste at special events Summary: Special event organisers will need to produce a waste management plan when applying for consent to use a public place to host a special event. Rationale: The aim is to make the user address the waste they are responsible for generating.

The bylaw also covers the other areas, including the use of public litter and recycle bins, and the provision of waste management plans for multi-unit properties that have been granted building consent after July 1, 2006.

ENDS

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