Stores dump rubbish bags
The increasing cost of Horowhenua District Council's rubbish bags is proving too much for some stores.
The price for council's kerbside collection rubbish bags rose from $3.30 to $4 each recently and although retailers can order in bulk for 20 cents less per bag, they must buy a box of 600.
Tokomaru Store owner Mike Davis said that $2280 initial outlay is too much for small businesses like his.
"Also, considering out here they will take four or five months to sell and at less than 4 per cent profit, it's just not worthwhile," he said.
"Basically, I just cannot afford to buy them like that. For a small business like ours, that money is better used elsewhere."
Council chief executive David Ward said the price increase was required to meet Emissions Trading Scheme compliance costs imposed by central government.
"It is certainly not revenue gathering or covering council costs or production costs," he said.
"And, this is a national issue, not a local one, faced by councils throughout the country."
Mr Ward said retailers could buy bags in smaller quantities, at the regular $4 sale price.
Mr Davis said at the Tokomaru Store they ran out of council rubbish bags a month ago.
"I don't like not having them here as it's been a product I've offered the local community for many years."
Tokomaru resident Rebecca Louth said she sympathised with Mr Davis but said not being able to buy council rubbish bags from her local store was an inconvenience.
"I'm lucky because I have a car, but not everyone does. When they were sold at the store, you could just walk."
She thought $4 for a rubbish was "hugely expensive".
In comparison, Palmerston North City Council sells its rubbish bags for $2.60 each and Kapiti District Council, $3.60.
Shannon Four Square owner Corey Macmillan also no longer stocked council rubbish bags.
"To have to buy 600 at a time is just ridiculous and not economically viable. It just doesn't add up," he said.
Manakau Store co-owner Sharon Hollow said they also chose not to buy the rubbish bags in bulk.
"Little businesses simply cannot afford to now."
Ms Hollow said they buy two or three packets of 10 bags, usually while at the supermarket in Levin.
"We buy them for $4 each and we sell them for $4 each. We do it for the customers. We don't put any mark-up on them, as they're already expensive enough."
Tokomaru resident Christine Toms said while leasing rubbish wheelie bins was an option, they were also expensive and were leading to some residents "bin pooling".
Mrs Toms said the other option of taking rubbish to the Shannon Transfer Station was also too expensive for many people, as well as the inconvenience of it being open for only half a day each week.
In September the transfer station's operating hours were reduced from three days per week to between 10am and 2pm on Sundays only.
Mr Ward said this was due to declining volumes, with now less than 220 tonnes of rubbish taken there in a year, equal to 10 to 12 ute loads per week.