Sandra is a senior crimes and justice reporter for the Bay of Plenty Times.

Major investigation into Tauranga waste

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Tauranga City Council has decided not to change its kerbside waste collection system until more community research is completed.

Councillors unanimously voted at yesterday's Strategy and Policy Committee to remain with the status quo for the city's waste management system for now but endorsed the need to investigate the various options for diverting more waste from landfill.

The initiative is part of series of actions adopted in the 2016 Waste Management and Minimisation Plan.

More than 300 people submitted to the plan during council's consultation process.

The plan included investigating whether full kerbside services should be funded through rates for rubbish, recycling, garden and food waste collections, increased regulations, and more education.

It would also include canvassing the community to obtain further data, including telephone surveys and door knocking residents.

Mayor Stuart Crosby said improving the quality of data available to council would help it make good decisions.

The newly adopted plan would span the next six years, but gave the newly-elected council a platform to look further into the size of the city's waste mountain and how people were managing their household waste and recycling.

About 90,000 tonnes of rubbish in the Western Bay region was sent to landfill in 2014-2015.

Mr Crosby said he had always believed that people needed to take personal responsibility for managing their own waste, and take ownership of how much they created.

Councillor Catherine Stewart said when it came to enforcement she would much rather see council adopt a "carrot than a stick approach" and more education was needed.

Submitter and Papamoa Progressive Association committee member Ken Masters, agreed.

Mr Masters said: "It starts at the front gate....A lot of ratepayers complain about the cost of our rubbish collection but they are more than happy to contribute to the amount we have created."

Another submitter Bellevue resident Ann Graeme said she supported council further investigating the nature of the city's waste, and hoped the data would provide a firm basis for council to make changes.

Mrs Graeme said the problem was that the existing waste collection system relied heavily on citizens doing the right thing.

" I think the kerbside rubbish collection should be ratepayer funded but the recycling should be free which would give people an incentive to want to recycle and reduce the amount of waste being created.

"This is not just about money, it's about reducing the harm to our environment and saving our planet too," she said.

Waste composition of a Tauranga rubbish bag

Recyclable contents are 65 per cent

Metal: two per cent
Plastic: two per cent
Glass: Four per cent
Paper: 11 per cent
Green Waste (Garden): 16 per cent
Kitchen Food Scraps: 30 per cent

Sanitary: seven per cent
Other Waste: 28 per cent

Each household pays an average of $313 a year for kerbside waste services.

That is about $17m for the community as a whole.

Source: Tauranga City Council

- Bay of Plenty Times

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