The way waste is dealt with in Tauranga City and the Western Bay of Plenty is up for review, with residents being asked to consider whether the current system offers the best environmental outcomes for the region.
Both Tauranga and the Western Bay have a user-pays waste system where waste collection and disposal, including kerbside collections, are controlled by private contractors.
Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty District councils are about to review their Joint Waste Management and Minimisation Plan which will set the vision and goals for waste management in the sub-region for the next year six years.
The two councils have set up an online discussion site, "Saving the planet: Is it a load of rubbish?" which includes a short survey and a comparison of rates versus user-pays waste services.
Western Bay of Plenty District Council Utilities Manager, Kelvin Hill, said at this stage it was about letting people know that waste and recycling is a topic that is up for discussion and gauging their thoughts on what is and isn't working for them.
"We need people to start thinking about the issues, and we're keen to hear from residents about what services they're currently using and what changes, if any, they'd like to see."
The plan would look at ways to maximise the amount of waste being diverted from landfill, through education and waste minimisation initiatives, said Mr Hill.
Currently more than 50 percent of waste from the sub-region that goes to landfill could theoretically be diverted. The largest divertible component is kitchen/food waste at 14.4 percent, followed by recyclable paper at 11.2 percent.
Tauranga City Council Manager Resource Recovery and Waste Rebecca Maiden said "Preparation for the waste plan review has included a thorough assessment of the region's waste streams.
The results are leading the two councils to ask whether the current user-pays model is as effective and efficient as we need it to be."
She said the councils would have a better idea of what was working under a rates-funded model, which would in turn help the sub-region to divert more resources from landfill.
"Each option has its merits depending on what outcomes you are looking for. We're encouraging people to read about these and comment on their preference online."
The two councils were preparing a comparison of the costs and benefits of different funding models to be considered as part of the review.
The Joint Plan was first adopted in 2010. It sets out how the councils will work together to manage and minimise waste in the sub-region for the next six years. Key discussions throughout the review will include whether the two areas move from a user-pays waste system to a rates-funded model, and how to best reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
The online project site would be used throughout the review to keep residents informed and allow them to have their say.
From Thursday, 24 March to Friday, 8 April people could complete the online survey, take part in online discussions and learn about the status quo and possible changes.
Feedback would be presented to Elected Members and a draft JWMMP would be released for public consultation in May.
Visit Saving the planet: Is it a load of rubbish? between 24 March - 8 April, 2016.