Kapiti council may dump trash collection

Kapiti Coast District Council is looking at dumping its rubbish collection service.

At present the council supplies rubbish bags, at a cost of $3.60 each, and collects them each week. It also collects recyclable waste from bins that were distributed free to all households several years ago and now cost $16.50 each.

Last year the council sold 308,000 rubbish bags. It says the figure could drop as low as 130,000 this year, meaning bag sales would no longer cover the cost of kerbside rubbish bag collection.

The lower sales were because of competition from private contractors selling their own bags.

Councillor Ross Church said these contractors were already doing the job more cheaply, selling bags for about $2.80.

"We are looking at various options," Mr Church said.

"One is for council to exit from the sale of rubbish bags and from kerbside collection, given the number of private contractors who are providing the service at a cheaper rate."

All councils are obliged under the Local Government Act to ensure rubbish is collected, but the Kapiti council says this does not mean councils have to provide the service themselves.

A recent amendment said councils should look to provide services in the most cost-effective way, the council said.

There are four private wheelie bin operators on the coast, all of which provide recycling facilities, and two provide rubbish bags.

A council spokesman said another option could be for the council to take over all kerbside recycling, but the annual cost of $700,000 to $800,000 would increase rates by 1.7 per cent.

At present, rubbish collection is funded on a user-pays basis, with no contribution from rates.

Kapiti Grey Power spokeswoman Betty van Gaalen was concerned that if the collection of recycling bins was privatised people would shove all their rubbish in wheelie bins.

Waikanae and Otaki drop-off centres were also being reviewed, as an extra $15,000 a year was needed to keep the Waikanae centre running, and the contract for the Otaki one was coming to an end.

The rubbish issues are included in the 2013-14 draft annual plan.

Meanwhile, Upper Hutt residents have experienced the first week of their controversial user-pays recycling collection scheme.

The Dominion Post