The full introduction of kerbside food waste collections in Auckland is up to three years away.

The Herald understands there is a "big arm wrestle" taking place between Auckland councillors, officers and commercial operators to bring Auckland into line with communities like Raglan which give residents a kitchen caddy and compostable bags to dispose of food scraps.

Auckland Council drew up plans to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill in 2012, which has cut household waste by 10 per cent, but total house, business and commercial waste to landfill has grown by 40 per cent between 2010 and 2016.

There is no indication of what the council is planning to do with the about 90,000 tonnes of food waste it intends to collect and divert from landfill

This has largely been due to an increase in construction and demolition waste driven by the city's housing needs and population growth.

Advertisement

Several councillors remain unconvinced about the need for a third bin for food waste. Households already have a general waste bin and a recycling bin, some of whom pay a flat fee of $117 for the general bin, while others pay for a plastic bag or bin tag for each collection.

The council plans to charge all households $67 a year for food scrap collections and eventually shift the weekly general waste bin collections to fortnightly on a pay-as-you-throw system.

Orakei councillor Desley Simpson has said she is yet to be convinced a compulsory third green bin for food scraps is the way to go. People compost and use wastemasters, she said.

Manurewa-Papakura councillor Daniel Newman. Photo / Michael Craig
Manurewa-Papakura councillor Daniel Newman. Photo / Michael Craig

Manurewa-Papakura councillor Daniel Newman is concerned about the cost impact of pay-as-you-throw bins on his constituents in South Auckland and large families.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff could not be reached for comment, but a spokesman said the council would be trialling a food waste system in Papakura this year. Depending on the results and further consultation, it could be extended.

A consultation summary on the council's draft waste management and minimisation plan says it will take until 2021 for kerbside collection of food waste for all households.

The new Auckland Council food waste collection kit that will be trialled in Papakura.
The new Auckland Council food waste collection kit that will be trialled in Papakura.

Commercial operators and Auckland Chamber of Commerce chief executive Michael Barnett are raising questions about the move to food scrap collections and believe the council is planning to enter the commercial waste market.

"There is no indication of what the council is planning to do with the about 90,000 tonnes of food waste it intends to collect and divert from landfill," Barnett wrote in the Herald last Thursday.

He called for a shared council-waste industry partnership setting out what each other's roles and responsibilities are.

Environment and community committee chairman Penny Hulse could not be reached for comment but has said the council is not planning to start a commercial waste service.

Environment and community committee chairwoman Penny Hulse.
Environment and community committee chairwoman Penny Hulse.

Last November, the council's finance committee decided the council would not operate or own any new waste facilities or services without a proper business case.

New Zealand's largest waste company, Waste Management, has serious concerns about Auckland Council taking a more active role in the commercial waste sector than it already does.

It strongly disagrees with the council's plan for separate food waste collections and increasing the number of community recycling centres from five to 12 by 2024, saying it will be costly and duplicate private facilities.

Waste Management says it will also be costly to set up facilities to process food waste, saying 90,000 tonnes of green waste is already collected by commercial operators to be turned into compost and garden mulch.

"It is unclear how much more organic waste will be collected through a separate kerbside collection system for organic material," the company said in a submission on council's draft waste management and minimisation plan.

Auckland waste systems
Current system

Auckland City and Manukau
$102 for base service, including recycling and inorganic collections
$117 flat fee for general rubbish collection
$219 total

North Shore, Waitakere and Papakura
$102 for base service, including recycling and inorganic collections
$135 for pay as you throw general rubbish collection
$237 total

Future system

For average household collection across the region
$108 for base service including recycling and inorganic collections
$89 for general pay as you throw rubbish, weekly eventually moving to fortnightly
$67 flat fee for food waste weekly collection
$264 total