New garbage plan gets tick despite some rubbishing

TARYN UTIGER
Last updated 05:00 19/03/2014

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New Plymouth's new garbage system has been signed off and is already being rubbished.

Last night councillors voted to change the district's rubbish collection and opt for a new kerbside collection project which places greater emphasis on recycling.

However, a group of disgruntled ratepayers, supported by a former mayor, spoke at the New Plymouth District Council meeting last night and pleaded with the councillors to consider revising the policy to include food waste.

Instead the councillors voted for the new system as proposed, but said they would investigate food waste options in the future.

Chartered accountant Peter Ertel, retired architect Gary Brown and organic waste specialist Russell How said the council had overlooked food waste management and as a result had failed their own objectives, as set out by the council's Long Term Plan.

Last month the monitoring committee rejected an option that would have included the weekly collection of 20 litres of organic waste, instead electing to adopt a new recycling system.

This new system, coupled with the imminent loss of income from the Colson Rd dump, will see ratepayers' rubbish bills jump from $67 this year to $191 in 2019.

If the organic waste collection was included in the new system the council said it would be about $7 a year more in the first eight years, but from 2019 onwards it would cost the same amount as the other new system.

The option that included the separate collection of food waste would mean the standard 60 litre bags of general waste would be collected from the kerb only every fortnight.

Mr Ertel said the council may have cost ratepayers at least $5 million by not adopting the option that included the separate collection and processing of food waste.

By his calculations, processing food waste into compost would have saved the council at least $5m in 21 years, because of the extra diversion from landfills.

"The option that provides the best diversion of waste over time will always be the best economic decision. I can't understand what the council employees, who advise the councillors, think they have got to lose by going with the food waste option," he said.

"By opting to not collect household food waste separately it can now not be diverted from the Colson Rd landfill and will even be trucked to Eltham in the foreseeable future."

Mr Ertel, Mr Brown and Mr How, who were supported by members of public, including Taranaki Regional Council deputy chairman and former city mayor David Lean, proposed that the council build and then lease out a $2m composting digester plant.

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As well as lowering waste it was also better for the environment.

Mr How owns the organic waste recovery business Return 2 Earth, which is based at Colston Rd.

Although he may have been set to make money if the council ran with the option that included organic waste, he said his objective was for a better system for all of Taranaki.

Waste minimisation throughout the whole community needed to be quickly and dramatically improved, he said.

The changes to the kerbside rubbish collection are set to get underway in October next year.

- Taranaki Daily News

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