As bins for a new citywide rubbish and recycling service start rolling out, figures show Tauranga creates more urban waste per capita than the New Zealand average.
Figures provided by Tauranga City Council show each person creates 1053kg of urban waste - including both commercial and domestic waste - each year.
In 2016, on a per capita basis Kiwis sent 730.6kg of waste to landfill, making the country one of the highest generators of household waste in the OECD.
Tauranga City Council waste and sustainability manager Sam Fellows said each person generates 200kg of domestic waste each year.
The goal is to reduce that number to less than 100kg per capita within the next seven years.
"In simple terms: We expect the new service to halve the amount of waste the average household sends to landfill each year by 2028," Fellows said.
Fellows thought the council's new kerbside recycling service, which begins in July, would enable Tauranga to reach the target.
The service would make reducing household waste easier, more accessible, and more affordable, according to EnviroHub.
Waste Watchers Limited director Marty Hoffart said food and other organic waste could be the biggest problem but it was the easiest to fix.
Any organic waste domestic households put in their rubbish bins go straight to landfill where they are buried and struggle to breakdown.
By pulling it out and composting it instead, Hoffart said there would be a massive reprieve on Tauranga's carbon footprint.
"The key is if you have food scraps to put them in a compost bin or garden and with your organics [to keep them] on your property and have it composted," he said.
"Fifty per cent of the average household's landfill waste [is organics]. If you got that material out of it, you'd half the landfill waste that comes from houses."
The new council service includes a food scraps bin.
In a flyer sent out last week, EnviroHub said 49 per cent of rubbish bin contents were compostable - 33 per cent kitchen organics and 16 per cent garden organics.
And according to May/June 2018 waste audits, nearly 70 per cent of kerbside waste in Tauranga could be recycled or composted instead.
That's the equivalent of throwing 360 tonnes - or about an A380 Airbus - of unnecessary waste of waste into landfill each week.
As part of the Long-term Plan 2018-28, Tauranga residents were asked whether a rates-funded kerbside collection should be introduced.
Sixty-six per cent of submissions were in favour, and so, the current opt-in system was scrapped for the new kerbisde service starting on July 1.
What can go into the bins
Tauranga City Council only recycles materials where there is a sustainable end market, Fellows said, which is only plastics 1 and 2.
However, from July, Tauranga residents would be able to recycle number 5 plastics as well as 1 and 2.
Plastics 3, 4, 6, and 7, would not be recyclable because their end market is not sustainable and there is a low value in these recovered plastics, Fellows said.
Often these plastics are harder to recycle, are contaminated by food, are soft plastics, and manufacturers struggle to make any profit from recycling them.
Clean paper, flattened cardboard, plastics 1, 2, and 5 - like milk and soft drink bottles, large yoghurt and icecream containers - can be recycled. Food and drink cans, rinsed bottles and containers without lids can also be put into recycling bins.
All food scraps, raw or uncooked, fruit and vegetables, meat, dairy, bread, coffee grinds, all is acceptable except compostable bags.
Most rinsed glass bottles and jars without lids can be put into the glass recycling crate, however, no broken glass, lightbulbs, cookware, or drinking glasses can.
All other waste, excluding garden waste, hot ashes, medical waste, building material, chemicals and hazardous items, and large household items, can go in the rubbish bin.
How many council's can recycle different plastics
• Plastic 1: 66 councils;
• Plastic 2: 65 councils;
• Plastic 3: 19 councils;
• Plastic 4: 18 councils;
• Plastic 5: 43 councils;
• Plastic 6: 16 councils;
• Plastic 7: 15 councils.
Data collected from 67 councils nationwide, accurate as of September 15, 2020. Provided by the Ministry for the Environment.
Plastic label descriptions
• Plastic 1: Polyethylene Terephthalate or PET - water, fizzy and juice bottles, oil and sauce bottles, etc. Common plastic for food packaging;
• Plastic 2: High-Density Polyethylene or HDPE - laundry detergent, milk bottles, etc.;
• Plastic 3: Poly Vinyl Chloride or PVC - commonly used in pipes, plumbing fittings, bank cards, bags, non-food type containers;
• Plastic 4: Low-Density Polyethylene or LDPE -things like plastic wrap, bubble wrap, zip-lock bags, etc;
• Plastic 5: Polypropylene or PP - medicine bottles, some takeaway containers, bottle caps, plastic cutlery, etc.;
• Plastic 6: Polystyrene or PS - Styrofoam cups, meat trays, protective packaging, etc.;
• Plastic 7: Plastic composition, other - refillable water bottles, DVDs and CDs, baby milk bottles, etc.