Household green-waste recyclers have called on Auckland Council to ban garden and food waste from general rubbish collection bins.
Green waste totalling about 30,000 tonnes a year is being collected from Auckland gardeners by private firms for composting.
However, the Independent Green Recyclers Collective says a ban, a brochure and a special bin for kitchen food waste, could save a lot more rubbish from being carted to landfills.
Collective spokesman Peter Howes said it did not class food waste as "green waste". Food waste made up 40 per cent of the rubbish collected from Auckland homes and needed a more extensive, costly and hygienic process to compost than that for garden cuttings and weeds. He told a hearing on the council draft waste management and minimisation plan that a proposal for a ratepayer-funded organic waste collection was misguided if it allowed food and green waste to be thrown into the same wheelie bin.
A better way was for the council to bring in a weekly food waste only collection using a 23-litre lockable bin, including a 7-litre caddy, lined with corn starch bags.
Collection would be tendered out to private firms which served restaurants and food-processing plants.
A year-long trial was under way in the Waikato town of Putaruru, where householders were invited to put their leftovers, bones and teabags in a commercial compost collection.
Members of the collective feared that a council-run green-waste collection would ruin their $9 million enterprise, which served 65,000 homes at no cost to ratepayers.
They could instead help the council reduce recyclable green waste in the household rubbish from the present 10.4 per cent to 3 per cent.
A council spokeswoman said yesterday that bylaws made by former councils remained in force. The former Auckland City Council, Waitakere City Council, North Shore City Council and Rodney District Council restricted green waste in refuse collections.
However, the former Manukau City, Franklin District and Papakura District had no restrictions on putting green waste in refuse bins.By Wayne Thompson Email Wayne