Disgruntled residents say the Auckland Council's new bin tag system isn't working, that tags are being stolen and rubbish collection is regularly delayed.
The system was rolled out in the Waitakere district in October last year, followed by the North Shore in April and Papakura in May.
Auckland Council's Waste Solutions manager Ian Stupple said the number of complaints about the new system was low - but conceded every new initiative had teething troubles and encouraged anyone experiencing problems with their tags or bins to call the council's call centre.
"Overall it's going well."
Introducing user-pays systems was part of a waste reduction plan for the city, and had been a preferred option in consultation over paying flat fees, Stupple said.
The system would be rolled out into all parts of Auckland in coming years and for now, bin tags were here to stay.
In future council could consider options such as microchipping bins or using barcode scanners, he said.
Following an article about late collection along West Auckland woman Jackie Oberholzer's street yesterday, the Herald was inundated with emails from frustrated Aucklanders.
Stolen tags and late collections made up the bulk of complaints.
One reader said she always put her bins out the night before collection day but had started putting her tag on in the early morning because they kept being stolen overnight.
Others said the tags, which sell for between $2.60 and $5.50, were getting lost on the way home from the shops and they had to buy them again.
More than one reader wrote in to say the system was "archaic" and many wondered if this was the best way to run a user-pays rubbish collection system.
Several residents said they were gratified to see theirs wasn't an isolated case, and asked the council to review the system.
"It's been the bain of my existence," said Takapuna resident Nicky, who asked we only use her first name.
She has had instances with her rubbish at both her home and office being left full with the tags taken, and was on the phone with Auckland Council to ask what was going on this morning.
North Shore resident Kylie Hawkins said the bins in her part of Sunnynook were often emptied the day after collection, after the tags were taken the day of collection.
At first she and her neighbours thought their bins hadn't been emptied because the tags had been stolen.
They soon realised the trucks were coming through on a Monday morning but "more often than not" passing by without emptying any bins, then returning the next day.
Hawkins said it was confusing and annoying.
"If the truck's full they go. So is the truck coming back, do I need a new [tag]?"
Hawkins had not complained to council, as she thought her street was an isolated case until she saw yesterday's article.
Stupple has suggested residents whose tags were being stolen could consider putting theirs on the bin in the morning if they put their bins out the night before, and write their address on the tag.
Gaps between runners taking the tags off bins and the rubbish truck operator emptying them should also be closing now staff were getting used to the new system as well, he said.