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‘Watered down’ Waste Minimisation Bill disappoints


August 28 2008

‘Watered down’ Waste Minimisation Bill disappoints

Waitakere City Council today expressed its concern the Waste Minimisation Bill passed by Parliament is not taking account of the important role of Territorial Local Authorities in waste reduction.

The council supported the original bill that went through the select committee process but was disappointed when it was amended to what it says is a much watered down version.

“The bill was amended to supposedly protect the recycling industry on the basis of high commodity prices and following scare tactics by the Scrap Metal Recycling Association,” says Finance and Operational Committee Chairman Ross Clow. “When those market prices decline and the recyclers walk away councils will be expected to pick up the scraps without obligation.”

Councils have a statutory obligation to plan for collection, recovery, recycling treatment and disposal services to meet current and future waste management and minimisation needs whether provided by the council or otherwise.

But Mr Clow says they now have no powers to obtain any information from private recyclers to enable them to plan for future demand as required under the act. And without that information - which councils rely on - they may be less likely to introduce waste reduction / minimisation initiatives such as cleaner production programmes.

Councils will now only have a responsibility for waste that goes to a landfill however no TLA in Auckland owns or manages any landfills and only contributes to about 20 percent of what goes to those privately owned landfills.

Depending on how some councils interpret the definitions this may also have an impact on the proposed green / food waste collections and processing schemes of councils.

Mr Clow added Waitakere did not have confidence the new legislation would stand the test of time.

“Basically this takes away councils’ ability to gain crucial information on waste flows and license private recycling operations. And that means it takes away our ability to provide meaningful waste minimisation in our districts and for any council, especially one running an eco city, this is unacceptable. We are definitely disappointed.”


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