Support for a recycling collection appears to be growing around the Whanganui District Council table.

Council will investigate introducing a rate-funded kerbside recycling service after a majority of submissions to its long term plan favoured the idea.

It follows a decision in March to carry out a household survey to test support for both a ratepayer-funded, fortnightly recycling pick-up and a weekly, user-funded, rubbish bag collection.

This has yet to be conducted.


Whanganui Mayor Hamish McDouall said the absence of recycling collection was noticeable to those who had recently moved to Whanganui.

"After five minutes of extolling the virtues of Whanganui the thing they say is 'but why don't you have kerbside recycling?' I must've heard it 20 times."

McDouall said it was important to consider in this day and age.

"And even if it requires ratepaying input, it's a service that for a city of 40,000 people we should be providing."

Councillor Helen Craig wanted council to resolve to introduce the service next year but chief executive Kym Fell said that may be a stretch.

"We could bring maybe a decision [next year] but then we would have to go out to tender and various things for the supplier to be able to provide that service," he said.

In the end council voted to investigate the introduction of kerbside recycling "as soon as practicable".

Councillor Rob Vinsen, who is on the waste minimisation working party, acknowledged the public support.


But he said the public also needed to be warned the collapse of the plastics market in China meant there were potentially "devastating effects for councils that involve themselves in a kerbside collection process".

"If we're going to go out and get three to four times more recycling than we're getting through the resource recovery centre, we've got three to four times more of a problem in how we move it on," Vinsen said.

That needed to be taken into account when looking at introducing kerbside recycling.

"I'm not saying it's not desirable but it's certainly not desirable to impose a cost on ratepayers if we end up having to take it to landfill. That's a question out there."

Councillor Josh Chandulal-Mackay sits on the same working party and said there would be benefits regardless.

"Even if we don't have as many options for sending it on we are still potentially reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and keeping it out of streams and rivers and things.

"I think there is still merit in investigating how we can collect more of it with the assumption the market will open up again in the future."

Chandulal-Mackay said council should also lobby for support to process recycling locally.

"What this has shown is that we have very little resilience. We are almost totally dependent on China and I think his should act as a catalyst to investigate other options."