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Organics collection trial offers food for thought

14 July 2014

Organics collection trial offers food for thought for future service

Most participants think Auckland Council’s planned new organics collection service is a good idea, according to an independent survey of households in the trial.

Halfway through the organics trial on Auckland’s North Shore valuable feedback is flowing in on how council can create a user-friendly food waste collection service with 92 per cent of those surveyed saying the trial is a good idea.

Participants separate food scraps and other organic matter such as paper towels, tea bags and indoor cut flowers from their usual rubbish collection so it can be collected weekly and turned into compost.

Trial participants’ comments are also helping council better understand how people are adapting to the service and what effect it has on waste minimisation, before its planned roll out across urban Auckland.

Auckland Council Solid Waste Operations Manager Warwick Jaine, says the council is pleased with results so far, but it is also aware that some people have concerns, about everything from the durability, size and fit of the kitchen caddy liners to odour issues from fortnightly council rubbish collection.

“We’re listening to all feedback and investigating solutions, such as maintaining weekly council rubbish pick up for a few years, to help ease the transition when an organics collection is introduced throughout urban Auckland,” said Mr Jaine.

The organics collection trial has been running since May, across nearly 2000 households in parts of Northcote, Milford and Takapuna, chosen to largely reflect Auckland’s demographics.

So far 85 per cent of households in the trial have put out their organics bin at least once, while 75 per cent are regular users of the weekly service. Both figures are well above the trial’s participation targets.

In eight weeks, the trial has diverted 31 tonnes of food waste from landfill to be processed into compost.

The trial evaluation includes a survey of randomly selected households in the trial area undertaken by Gravitas Research and Strategy, an independent research company.

A new rates-funded urban organics collection service was one of a suite of projects promised in the council’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan of 2012 and is intended to significantly reduce waste to landfill.

Survey information
A survey of 337 residents in the trial area undertaken between 4 June and 27 June 2014.

A total of 92 per cent of respondents thought the organics collection was a good idea for Auckland. Of that number, 67 per cent said it was a very good idea, and 25 per cent said it was a good idea. Four per cent said it was neither a good nor bad idea, one per cent each said it was a poor or very poor idea, and another one per cent each were not sure yet or didn’t know.

When asked how satisfied or dissatisfied they were with aspects of the organics collection trial, 87 per cent of respondents said they were satisfied with the organics, recycling and rubbish collection service overall as a way to manage household waste.

Another five per cent said they were dissatisfied, while seven per cent were neither satisfied nor dissatisfied, and one per cent did not answer this question.

The trial evaluation also includes further qualitative research, to explore the initial findings in more depth and a follow up survey at the end of the trial.

ENDS

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