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Sticker System To Help Manage Rural Rubbish

Thursday 22 March 2012

Sticker System To Help Manage Rural Rubbish
Using rubbish stickers to deal with waste in rural areas is being proposed in a plan to minimise and manage waste in the district. Gisborne District Council wants to know what residents think about the plan.

Last year a proposal to close some transfer stations to bring costs down was met with outrage in the rural townships affected. We listened to those townships and decided not to close any of our transfer stations, says Peter Higgs, group manager engineering and works.

“We went back to the drawing board because we had to find a better way to manage the cost of dealing with solid waste in rural areas. It costs $1.4 million a year to manage rubbish and recycling services at Gisborne district rural transfer stations and the Waiapu Landfill. This cost is met by all ratepayers. The problem is that ratepayers within 15km of a rural transfer station get the most benefit. These ratepayers have paid $73 per year, but the true cost is $360.”

The sticker system introduced in Gisborne city in 2001 has been a resounding success. Rubbish going to landfill has reduced significantly and the amount of waste recycled is now 2800 tonnes per year.

Council believes this system can work just as well outside the city boundary. The sticker system is essentially user pays. Anyone taking rubbish to a rural transfer station will need to pay with Council rubbish stickers. Ratepayers within 15km of a rural transfer station will receive stickers with their rates invoice; that’s one sticker per week (52 per year). This is an additional cost on their rates of $110 per year.

Households further than 15km from a rural transfer station and anyone needing more stickers can purchase them at local stores. Costs range from $2.50 for a sticker on a bag of rubbish up to $40 for a large trailer load.

Disposal of rubbish has become a costly business in recent years. In the past rubbish was burnt. This is no longer allowed for health and legal reasons. So Council has built transfer stations and carts waste to landfill or recycling businesses. This all requires strict environmental safeguards and costly engineering systems to manage the waste. The Ministry for the Environment charges a waste levy of $10 per tonne on all rubbish disposed to landfill; this is to encourage recycling. Government legislation requires Councils to introduce a greater focus on user pays systems to cover rubbish disposal costs. They believe that those who produce the waste should pay for its disposal. This all ads up to a very expensive service for Council to run.

The proposed changes are outlined in Council’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan which is being consulted on alongside Council’s Ten Year Plan. Letters and a brochure detailing the changes are going out to all affected households this week. “We will also be discussing the proposal at community meetings being held throughout the district over the next four weeks,” says Mr Higgs. “I am sure people attending one of the meetings in rural townships will be interested in how this plan would affect them.”

The plan includes an emphasis on recycling. Recycling at the transfer stations will still be free. Every household who receive stickers will get a recycling bin to separate waste from recyclable products like cans, glass and cardboard. Metal items like cars whiteware and appliances can also be recycled but not greenwaste.

Composting workshops will be held in townships in September and October. Anyone who attends will receive a composting bin to help with kitchen and garden waste.

Submissions about the Council’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan and the Ten Year Plan can be made using a form on Council’s website or use the form in the back of the journal style brochure that was delivered to all residents last week. Alternatively contact Council’s Customer Services at Fitzherbert St or Te Puia Springs.

Submissions must be received by Council before 20 April. If the Waste Management and Minimisation Plan is adopted it will be introduced from 1 October this year.


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