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New Steps To Achieve Waste Reduction Targets

Auckland City Council

Auckland City councillors last night adopted a waste management plan for the isthmus which signals a commitment to significant waste reduction targets.

The plan incorporates public views put forward during consultation earlier this year, and its adoption is a major milestone for the city, says City Works Committee chairperson Cr Doug Astley.

The council's objective for the isthmus is a 50% reduction in the quantity of domestic and business waste by 2003, and an 80% reduction by 2010. It will be achieved by greater emphasis on recycling and re-use, and decreasing the amount of waste that gets "dumped" by encouraging the use of smaller mobile garbage bins (MGBs).

The current weekly kerbside recycling scheme for glass, cans and some plastics will be retained, and continue to be funded from rates. The weekly free paper collection will also continue. Recycling continues to be a major plank of the council's policy said Cr Astley. "It is popular with residents and continues to work very well."

Two-yearly inorganic refuse collections will continue. As a collection was held during the last financial year, this means inorganics will next be collected in the year commencing July 1, 2000. Inorganic collections will continue to be funded from rates, at a cost of around $1.4m each year.

New means of dealing with garden and other bulk organic waste will be explored by a council working party, which will initiate discussions with the organic waste collection industry. As almost half the refuse which residents put out for collection in their MGBs is organic, there is potential for large reductions in the amount which gets treated as waste and goes to landfill, he said.

A move towards a smaller size of MGB for the weekly domestic refuse collection is a key point of the new waste management policy, strongly debated by councillors who resolved to retain MGBs and adopt a "citizen responsibility" philosophy towards waste reduction.

The first step is to encourage the use of 120 litre MGBs by residential ratepayers by offering bins at a different annual charge according to size; $88.00 for 120 litre, $175.00 for 240 litre. This will commence in the next financial year, from July 1, 2000.

Councillors resolved that from the beginning of the next financial year, June 2000, no new 240 litre MGBs will be issued and that people be advised there is an expectation that by June, 2002 all 240 litre MGBs will be out of circulation.

Cr Astley said implementing this policy will be very difficult - and predicts the decision will be unpopular with people who prefer and are prepared to pay for a 240 litre bin in the future.

"It will take a lot longer than two years to implement this policy because so many of the existing stock of 240 litre bins will still be in use. This decision may well detract from the other benefits and opportunities to reduce waste that we had foreseen with this new policy."

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