The Tauranga City Council is offering a new optional green waste service to residents this year. And while some applaud the move, others doubt it will be successful.
From July, households will be able to choose between four-weekly collections at $60 for the 2021-22 year, or fortnightly collections at $95 for the 2021-22 year.
Each collection works out to less than $5.
The cost of the service will be added to the household's rates bill.
This will be in addition to the new rates charge of $230 to cover the cost of the new council rubbish, recycling and food scraps collections that also begin in July. The new $230 rates charge includes the current annual charge of the glass recycling service of $37.34.
The optional garden waste kerbside collection uses a 240-litre wheelie bin and is available for residential households only and will be collected on each household's existing collection day either fortnightly or four-weekly.
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Tenants who would like the service can ask their landlord or property manager (with permission of the ratepayer) to arrange the service for them.
However, Tauranga Rentals owner Dan Lusby said he doubted the new service would be popular among landlords.
"If they don't have to do it, a lot of ratepayers won't."
Lusby said the additional charge to rates for the kerbside rubbish and recycling collection already due to take effect later this year was extra money landlords were expected to pay but not expected to pass on to tenants.
"That's another $230 cost to our owners, not the tenants. So with the green waste, our owners, they won't be happy to pay for tenants' rubbish to be collected."
Changes to tenancy laws meant property owners could only increase their rent once a year "and even then, the market dictates what we can charge", Lusby said.
"It's another cost that they won't want."
However, Marty Hoffart, of Tauranga consultancy Waste Watchers, applauded the move as it had been "long overdue" and had the potential to make real change.
Nearly 70 per cent of Tauranga's household waste that ends up in landfill could be recycled or composted instead, with 16 per cent being garden waste alone.
The garden waste collected will be processed locally into compost and sold to agricultural, horticultural and landscape industries along with other markets throughout New Zealand.
"The problem is ... You could put a banana skin, grass clippings, trees into a landfill and it's worse than plastic or glass bottles," Hoffart said.
"In a landfill, you run over it with a 60-tonne compacter, you starve it of oxygen. What happens is you get a different type of bacteria breaking down that stuff. That's anaerobic bacteria, that's what causes methane.
"Our biggest challenge right now is climate change and Tauranga ... pretty much every council in New Zealand right now is looking at the same thing - how do we get green waste out of landfill?"
Hoffart said it was wise to keep the service as optional as many people did not have large sections and would not necessarily need such a collection.
Acting manager of the sustainability and waste team Sam Fellows said the council had not initially planned to introduce a garden waste collection service.
"Other councils across New Zealand either provide no garden waste or have garden waste as compulsory. We decided to give our residents an opportunity to choose what works best for them because we could get it as such an affordable rate when combined with the other services," he said.
"Offering this service on top of the other services helps us with our mission to make waste and recycling more convenient and cost-effective."
The council expected the complete suite of new council-led kerbside collections to halve the amount of waste the average household sends to landfill by 2028, he said.
While Fellows described the service as convenient and "great value", he admitted the only term households can sign up for was one year. If they cancelled part-way through the term, there would be no refund for the unused collections.
People would need to contact the council if they want to cancel the service after one year.
The green waste collection is the only opt-in service charged through rates.
Fellows said charging through rates was the most efficient way for the council to collect payment. It was chosen as it prevented the cost of developing a separate billing system "which would have made the service more expensive".
"We would hope that if tenants expressed an interest in receiving the service, that landlords would work with them and come to some arrangement around the additional charge on property rates.
"It's up to individual landlords whether they pass the cost of the new kerbside collections onto their tenants."
Fellows said the council wanted to encourage households that did not normally separate their garden waste from regular rubbish to consider the service.
"Doing so will mean they are actively taking part in helping our city reduce the amount of household waste we sent to landfill."
The service is available to ratepayers only and people will need to sign up for it before May 15 in order to receive the service from July 1.
A free assisted service is available for households with mobility issues.
Information sessions on the new service will be held at:
Greerton Hall on February 15 from 3pm to 6pm
Bethlehem Hall on February 16 from 3pm to 6pm
Welcome Bay Hall on February 17 from 3pm to 6pm
The Little Big Markets (Pāpāmoa) on February 20 from 9am to 2pm
Club Mount Maunganui on February 22 from 3pm to 7pm
Arataki Community Centre on February 23 from 3pm to 6pm
Otumoetai Golf Club on February25 from 3pm to 6pm
Papamoa Community Hall on March 2 from 3pm to 7pm
The Little Big Markets (Mount Maunganui) on March 6 from 9am to 2pm