New council rubbish service more expensive than going private?
Auckland Council's planned "pay as you throw" rubbish collection could see more Aucklanders using private contractors.
Customers of Waste Management claim theirs is a cheaper, and more convenient, option that is better for the environment.
Earlier this month Auckland Council announced a pay as you throw system would be introduced by 2020, putting households in charge of their rubbish costs. Three bins will be used - one for recycling, one for food waste and one for rubbish.
But Paul Berg of west Auckland said council's new scheme may add up to be more expensive than hiring a Waste Management bin.
The Green Bay resident said he had been using the private provider's bin for his household rubbish and food waste for more than a decade.
The family, with two young children, paid a six-monthly subscription fee for a 140 litre bin, which worked out at about $5 per week, he said.
Under council's new system, households would need to purchase prepaid tags for a 140l refuse bin. The price of the tags would be announced in August, but it was estimated to be lower than $7 for one bin pickup.
Each bin had estimated capacity of three 60l council bags, which retailed for $2.30.
Auckland Council's Terry Coe said private companies such as Waste Management worked on a subscription model. That meant having to pay the same amount, irrespective of the volume of waste.
"By paying for each collection you can reduce your refuse collection costs, depending on how much rubbish you produce."
Another private company Econowaste that serviced Whenuapai, West Harbour, Hobsonville and Massey offered 80l, 120l and 240l bins for weekly collection. The annual charge for these was $127.50, $158 and $175 respectively.
Envirowaste also offered bins in the same sizes. For west Auckland the charge was $192.84 for the 80l bin, 364.80 for the 120l bin and the $475.08 for the 240l bin - a fortnightly collection service for this bin was available at 247.50.
Glen Eden's Rebecca Jones said she had ongoing health issues and limited mobility. She chose to hire a Waste Management bin because buying council rubbish bags was "too much trouble".
Jones said the orange bags were "flimsy" and pets often ripped through them.
And even though council planned to do away with the bags, Jones said she would stick to Waste Management because going out to purchase Auckland Council's prepaid tags was too daunting for her.
Berg said it would take a long time to fill the 140l bin, and households could end up waiting weeks before it was economical to put their bin out on the kerb.
The first phase of the council's new rubbish collection system will be rolled out in west Auckland in October this year, followed by North Shore in 2018 and Papakura in the middle of next year.
West Auckland's old 140-litre recycling bin, with a blue body and yellow lid, will replace the current orange council rubbish bags and residents will use it to dispose food waste and non-recycling rubbish.
A food bin will be introduced eventually, council's waste and refuse manager said.
Auckland Council trialled the three-bin model earlier this year, with 40 per cent of the rubbish found to be food waste, Coe said.
Households put the food waste bins out on a weekly basis, but the other two bins filled up over a fortnight, Coe said.
"Five percent of the households were even waiting up to three weeks."
But Berg said it was not an environmentally-friendly move.
He said the new bins would still be full of plastic bags and bin liners because people would use them dispose household rubbish, particularly food waste, before throwing them into the council bin.
"Otherwise they'll have to wash it [the bin] out every weeks and then it wastes water."
Berg said most of his neighbours were using Waste Management, and he did not think they would cancel their subscriptions "any time soon".
Coe said food waste could be wrapped in newspaper before being placed in the rubbish bin.
"Or put your food waste into compostable liners, and put into your rubbish bin."
He said if residents did not want to place food waste in their rubbish bin, composting would be a good option.
Coe said the council planned to phase out orange rubbish bags in west Auckland by the end of this year, and over the next three years in rest of the city.
While Auckland may be new to the three-bin system, Cantabrians have used it since 2009.
Christchurch residents placed their food waste and organics in a bin with a green lid, collected weekly.
Yellow lid bins were for recycling and collected every fortnight.
And everything that did not go in the other two bins, went in to the red lid bin, which was also collected every two weeks, alternating with the recycling bin collection.