The Emissions Trading Scheme could have an unexpected result - the closure of the Wainuiomata tip.
The landfill is nearing the end of its life and it was always envisaged users would have to travel a bit further to Silverstream Landfill.
But introduction of Emission Trading Units has led to a recommendation the Wainui landfill closes at the end of this year.
It was thought the units would trade at around $25, with the potential to rise to $50.
However, current estimates are around $7, which will greatly increase the cost of using the landfill.
General manager Bruce Sherlock told a council committee this week that the landfill operates on a user pays basis. To recover the cost of purchasing the units, the council would have to significantly increase Wainuiomata landfill fees.
That would result in a major disparity of charges between Silverstream and Wainuiomata.
"The differential would be sufficient to encourage commercial operators to transfer their waste volumes to the Silverstream Landfill."
Wainuiomata takes 27,000 tonnes of waste. Commercial rubbish accounts for 24,000 of that, and comes mostly from a small number of firms.
Mr Sherlock did not expect any difficulty with those firms transferring to Silverstream.
Although he emphasised cost in his report to councillors, he told us the bigger issue was that the Emissions Trading Scheme was set up to force closure of smaller, less environmentally friendly landfills.
Silverstream is a newer, state of the art landfill and the council wants to encourage greater use of it.
However, domestic users in Wainuiomata will be able to take waste to the Seaview Transfer Station, which is 7km from the middle of Wainuiomata.
The council is also looking at placing a transfer station in Wainuiomata.
Councillor Max Shierlaw said he did not agree with the sudden closure of the landfill and he would be exploring other options.
"I would rather phase it out than close it all of a sudden."
Councillor Margaret Willard said losing the landfill would be a shock but she accepted Silverstream was a ''much better'' option.
- Hutt News
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