Every Wednesday morning, Susan Tantau looks across the road from her home and sees black rubbish bags piled on the kerb.

On the other side of the road, Juan Bautista Figueroa sees the same thing.

Both grit their teeth, but for different reasons.

Tantau lives on the eastern side of Porchester Rd in South Auckland, which falls under the old Papakura District Council boundaries.

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Her rubbish must go out in orange bags, which cost $2.30 each.

On Figueroa's side, those as far south of the Papakura Stream are rated under the legacy Manukau City Council boundary.

Their rubbish can go on the kerb in any bag. Most favour supermarket-bought black ones which cost a lot less, about $13 for a bundle of 50.

Read more: Food waste collection coming to Auckland

"I just think it's ridiculous," Tantau said.

"We are 10 steps away and live on the same street and we have to buy the bags. They can use any old bags.

"You would think it would all be the same. We don't have different laws."

More than six years after the seven greater Auckland councils became one, the way our household rubbish is collected is anything but unified.

A uniform system was agreed in 2012. It was to be a user-pays, fortnightly wheelie bin rubbish collection for all urban areas, in conjunction with consistent recycling, inorganic and food waste collection.

Inorganic and recycling collections have been standardised, the latter with a 210,000 bin roll-out last year, but refuse and food waste collections, initially listed with roll-out targets of 2015 in the plan, remain stubbornly diverse.

Residents living in the former Manukau and Auckland City council zones pay a higher rubbish levy in their rates than those who live in other legacy council areas, such as Papakura, who make up the shortfall in the higher-priced bags.

Figueroa puts out a black bag or two of rubbish each week. Yet, many more black bags of rubbish sometimes pile up outside overnight.

Rubbish day on the legacy Manukau City Council side of Porchester Rd. Photo / Cherie Howie
Rubbish day on the legacy Manukau City Council side of Porchester Rd. Photo / Cherie Howie

He said he believes residents from nearby orange bag areas are buying the cheaper bags and dumping them on neighbours' berms, suspicions backed by unashamed admissions on Papakura community Facebook pages.

On the worst week, he counted 16 bags outside.

Another morning he hid in his car before dawn to write down the illegal dumpers' number plates,but he said he had given up complaining to the council.

He's not alone, other residents have seen similar behaviour. Just around the corner in Hyperion Drive, Jennifer Pongi wasn't surprised by her neighbour's distress.

"I've seen the bags, people drop them off."

Manurewa-Papakura councillor Daniel Newman shares his constituents frustration.

Unifying waste collection in the SuperCity had been a "kaleidoscope of frustrating half-starts".

"I accept that contracts take time [to sort out] but five years is an awful long time."

Auckland Council's Waste Solutions department general manager, Ian Stupple, acknowledged people were tired of waiting, but the project was a big one.

"It's the largest waste transformation project in Australasia now, just because of the size of Auckland ... we've tried to do it in chunks. We've done a lot; recycling, the inorganics, we've set up community recycling centres as well.

"Plus we've done a lot with community engagement, because a lot of this is about behaviour change."

Changes to the time frame for the uniform system were signed off as part of the long-term plan process in 2014, Stupple said.

The target for a uniform service is now 2019/20.

The next step is the September roll-out of kerbside wheelie bin rubbish collection for those living in legacy Manukau City Council areas; Tantau will soon be looking at 120-litre rubbish bins across the road.

Waitakere, North Shore and Franklin will switch to the user pays bins, joined by Auckland and Manukau moving from rates-based bills to user pays charges calculated per lift, by the 2019/20 target.

In Rodney, where the council has not been involved in rubbish collection, householders will have the choice of remaining with private providers or a council user-pays bin. Rural areas of the SuperCity will have the option of a bin or bag.

Auckland Council's Waste Solutions general manager, Ian Stupple, describted unifying Auckland's waste collection as the largest waste transformation project in Australasia. Photo / Supplied
Auckland Council's Waste Solutions general manager, Ian Stupple, describted unifying Auckland's waste collection as the largest waste transformation project in Australasia. Photo / Supplied

As for dumping, figures for behaviour described by Figueroa and Pongi were not available. But all complaints of illegal dumping were investigated and a $400 litter infringement notice or $30,000 fine, if prosecution was successful, could be imposed, Stupple said.

As for those living inside legacy Papakura boundaries, Newman's lobbying over the division of service in his ward may reap his constituents a 120 litre-sized reward.

Residents were to remain on use- pays bags until 2019/20, but the council were considering introducing wheelie bins for rubbish collection next year, Stupple said.

"We totally understand where Councillor Newman is coming from, that he's split into two different legacy areas.

"Residents don't work on legacy areas, they just get on with their lives, so our aim is to make life as simple as possible for people and to allow them to get on with managing their waste at the lowest cost possible."

HOW YOUR RUBBISH IS COLLECTED

Legacy Auckland City areas: Rate-based rubbish wheelie bin

Legacy Manukau City areas: Rate-based bags (any bag can be used)

Legacy North Shore, Waitakere, Papakura and Franklin council areas: User pays orange council bags at a cost of $2.30 per 60 litre bag.

Legacy Rodney District areas: No council rubbish collection.:

WHAT'S CHANGING?

By 2019/20 almost all of urban Auckland is to have a user pays, fortnightly wheelie bin rubbish collection, in conjunction with consistent recycling, inorganic and food waste
collection.

In Rodney householders will have the choice of remaining with private providers or a council user pays bin.

Rural areas of the SuperCity will have the option of a bin or bag, and have also not been included in plans for food waste collection.