Doing more than your neighbours isn't always something to boast about, and certainly not when it comes to sending rubbish to the landfill, say Stratford District councillors Peter Dalziel and Min McKay.
Dalziel says the amount of waste taken from Stratford households to the landfill is far too high, especially when compared to the neighbouring districts of New Plymouth and South Taranaki.
"Every year we are sending 580kg of waste per household to landfill, which is more than double the amount per household coming out of New Plymouth."
He says Stratford's 580kg per household is "excessive" when compared to South Taranaki's 412kg and New Plymouth's 258kg.
Dalziel, who says he is keen to see Stratford's numbers drastically reduce, says he is confident it can be done.
"When you look back, just two-and-a-half years ago our number was even higher, about 760kg or so, so we have already reduced it, but now it seems to have plateaued to around 580kg. We've managed to drop the amount significantly in recent years but I know we can drop it further."
New Plymouth residents benefit from a weekly collection of food scraps in the district, something councillor McKay is keen to see introduced in Stratford as well.
"Being able to stop our food and green waste going to landfill is something we should all be keen to do. What I like about the idea is that it completes a positive environmental circle.
"Currently we take one problem our community has - disposing of waste - and remove it by moving the problem rather than fixing it. By sending food and green waste to landfill, we are then dealing with too much waste in the landfill and the green waste is contaminated.
"Introducing a food and green waste collection creates a circle - we will be turning our food and green waste into compost which in turn goes back to gardeners where it helps replenish the soil, plants grow better, we get better air quality and we are eating many of the things being grown."
Stratford mayor Neil Volzke says council's Long Term Plan (LTP) consultation document, which is out now, explains how council hopes to reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill through the introduction of a green and food waste collection. This, he says, would help the district dramatically reduce the amount of waste going to landfill.
"Currently combined food and green waste make up 41 per cent of the tonnage going to landfill, so there is plenty of potential for this to be substantially reduced. I foresee strong long term economic and environmental benefits in doing. It is also in line with the current national trends and desire to protect our environment. I think it is the right thing to do."
Councillor Dalziel says the proposal is to introduce a combined food and green waste collection service in year three of the Long Term Plan.
He says while this would increase council debt by $300,000, the benefit would be great.
"If we want to continue aiming for our zero waste targets then this is a must-do."
Councillor McKay adds while the cost of setting up the service is easy to calculate, the costs it might save are as yet unknown.
"If we can divert up to 40 per cent of the amount currently going to landfill, we will clearly see substantial savings in the long run."
She encourages people to have their say on this idea, and all the others contained in the LTP consultation document.
"We want to hear from people who support or oppose the idea. Often, we only hear from people who disagree with a decision council is making and that can make it hard when we consider those submissions.
"The question is, do we presume people in favour just haven't submitted, or do we listen only to the views clearly expressed in submissions, and presume the rest of the community agrees with those submissions?
"The best way people can help us make the right decisions is by having their say. By making a submission whether you support the idea or not ensures your voice is heard at the council decision making table. We do listen to and read every single submission we receive and we consider each of them in making our final decisions."
Have your say: Visit www.stratford.govt.nz for more information on the LTP consultation and how to have your say on this issue and others.
Disclaimer: Editor Ilona Hanne is married to the CEO of Stratford District Council.