With the refuse tonnage increasing in the past three years, the Tararua District Council has been grappling with what to do with our rubbish.

"With more people in the district and more economic activity, we're getting more rubbish," said Malcolm Thomas, council's strategy and policy adviser.

The council receives $57,000 a year from the Waste Minimisation Levy Fund from the Ministry for the Environment for its waste minimisation, but hadn't been using it fully, Mr Thomas said.

Read more: Maunga Awa station on the market

However, subsidised composting bins and worm farms may be two ways households can be helped to achieve their waste minimisation goals, with council using the fund for these projects.

Required to prepare a waste management and minimisation plan under the Waste Management Act 2008 every six years, the council has to adopt its new plan at its December meeting.

The plan is now out for public consultation.

"There's a focus on reducing the amount of food waste going into our refuse, with 24.5 per cent of the tonnage from food," Mr Thomas said.

Although recycling tonnages are increasing, there has been a corresponding drop in kerbside recycling as residents are increasingly using transfer station drop-off facilities, so council is now proposing to cut back its kerbside recycling collection late next year, from weekly to fortnightly, to match this drop in usage.


Councillors have also discussed moving to full wheelie-bin collections but have been warned this would be a very large investment, with no idea of the return.

With the council now focusing on additional education and initiatives to encourage people to minimise their waste and increase recycling, subsiding composting bins and worm-farm kits to reduce organic waste in households are ideas being considered.

"We now have $290,000 in our waste minimisation reserves and we need to decide how best to use it," Mr Thomas said.

"Overall, I don't see any rates increase for our waste minimisation."

The council is also focusing on additional education to encourage residents to minimise their waste and increase recycling.

These initiatives include funding an annual e-waste free drop-off day at transfer stations.