About 10,000 apartment owners in central Auckland are facing a $79 annual rubbish charge from the Auckland City Council - though they pay private contractors to clear their bins.
Jacquie Turner, who owns five apartments in the city, said the council was filling its coffers without providing a service.
She has started a campaign at the Victopia Apartments in Victoria St where she lives to oppose the charge.
She said the 203-apartment tower paid $18,000 a year for a private contractor to empty and clean the large-size rubbish bins every day for 500 residents - a service that could not be matched by the council.
In a letter outlining the new charge to apartment owners, the council said the $79 charge would pay for future waste initiatives, such as organic waste collections and a resource recovery park for inorganic material; recycling services, better hazardous waste collections and a waste education programme.
Council financial policy analyst Greg Webb said the charge would give everyone in Auckland City, not just suburban residents, the opportunity to reduce the amount of household rubbish going to landfills.
The council had a goal of zero waste to landfills by 2015.
The council is planning to increase the targeted rate for rubbish from $168 to $199 this financial year to meet increased collection costs and to pay for new waste initiatives.
Under the proposal in this year's budget, apartment owners in the central city who have opted out of the council's collection service will get a remission of $120 and pay $79.
Mr Webb said the charge would include a new central city collection service for glass and plastic containers, similar to the blue recyclable bins elsewhere in the city.
Mr Webb was not able to provide a breakdown yesterday for the charge.
Since the council allowed apartments to opt out of its rubbish collection service in 2004, more and more apartments had organised private rubbish collections and that was "affecting our ability to introduce waste minimisation initiatives", he said.
"Giving access to people to these waste minimisation [initiatives] means we can actually improve the environment and reduce the amount of landfill so we can have an all-round better city," Mr Webb said.
Works committee chairman Neil Abel said food - the biggest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions - was the main source of waste in the central city. Being able to separate and process it would be a "huge step forward".