A Stratford woman says people need to look for an alternative to the landfill for the disposal of human waste.
Judy Lobb says the amount of human waste in landfill is an environmental disaster in the making.
She says while most people are aware things like nappies end up in rubbish bags headed for landfill, she thinks many forget there are other forms of human waste being thrown out in bins every week as well.
"You don't think about it until it happens in your own household, but just as at the start of life, human waste ends up in nappies going to landfill, people in the later stages of life also sometimes need an alternative to using a toilet."
She herself realised just how much human waste can end up in a household bin in a week after her husband had a colostomy bag fitted 20 years ago, she says.
"Before then I hadn't thought of it, but now I do. I feel terrible some nights, when it's 2am and I am putting something in the bin like that. That's when you think about things really, late at night or in the early hours of the day, you think a bit more sometimes."
At times, Judy says, she has almost cried from frustration and wishing there was an alternative.
"There used to be something in Christchurch for nappies to be disposed away from the landfill. We need something like that for all human waste. Having a separate bin and a truck to pick up that human waste and take it to a specialist place to be disposed of wouldn't add lots to rates or anything as it would mean less waste going to the main landfill."
Judy says anecdotal evidence indicates human waste can make up more than 10 per cent of the waste in landfill currently.
"There are nappies, sanitary items, colostomy bags, adult nappies. In private homes and rest homes as well as hospitals. The amount of product in a single household bin can be as much as three quarters of its total volume in any given week."
Judy has spent the last three weeks sending letters to businesses, politicians and health boards as well as district and regional councils, in the hope of raising awareness of the problem and encouraging organisations to think about the problem.
"If we took all that waste and piled it high in a carpark in town, people would be aghast at the amount. But it's hidden, so people don't think about it."
While Judy doesn't really want to put a pile of human waste on display in the town, she says she would like to have a billboard on Broadway.
"I would love to put my letter on display along with the responses I receive. Some businesses have been really dismissive and not wanted to talk about it at all."
Judy says she wants more people to ask community leaders and politicians to consider looking into alternative disposal methods.
"People are welcome to use the wording in my letter or write their own."
Copies of Judy's letter are available from the Stratford Press office.