Price rise fails to prompt recycling
Rubbish bag sales in Palmerston North are holding firm despite a price rise designed to more closely recover rubbish collection costs and encourage more recycling.
The 37c a bag hike in the wholesale price last October prompted a pre-increase spike in sales, with 139,500 bags sold compared to an average month of about 50,000.
The city council expected sales to go down, and stay down, but figures supplied by water and waste service manager Rob Green showed patterns had reverted to normal.
"Since recycling came in, rubbish volumes have gone down," Mr Green said.
"Initially it was quite a sharp reduction, but then people slipped back into old habits a bit."
The council had been expecting its income from rubbish bag sales to go down as people resisted the price rise.
But in November and December, and again from March to June, income from sales went up.
Sales for the year were $390,000 over budget.
Volumes of bags sold also recovered, with June sales settled around the historical average of 52,500.
The number of bags sold for the whole year was 641,500, down from 742,500 two years ago, but up on 2011-12 when 605,000 were sold.
The push for more recycling is part of a council goal to reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill by 75 per cent by 2015.
That goal, and the measures it would take to achieve it, will be reviewed shortly.
A draft review of the waste minimisation strategy will be prepared for next month's planning and policy committee, and after that it will go out for public comment.
Meanwhile, a rubbish bag or recycling bin gets left behind for about every 1000 that are collected without a hitch, based on complaints logged with Palmerston North City Council.
The council logged 916 complaints about recycling not being picked up in the last year, and 272 complaints about rubbish not collected.
Mr Green said on many occasions residents had failed to get their bins and bags to the kerb before 7.30am on collection day, or a bag had been left because it had split or was not an official bag.
Mr Green said the level of complaints was reasonably low given that 28,000 properties received the weekly collection service year round.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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