Hamilton City Council's much-discussed new rubbish and recycling service is a finalist in the 2021 Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) Awards.
The service, introduced at the end of last year, is the biggest change to the city's rubbish and recycling service in 20 years and is a top-runner for the LGNZ award in the category environmental well-being.
With the new recycling service more than 60,000 Hamilton households received separate wheelie bins: One each for food scraps, mixed rubbish, recyclable plastic and paper as well as a glass crate to help reduce the amount of rubbish sent to landfill.
Since the service started, the amount of waste saved from landfill has dramatically increased: from 27 to 58 per cent. Another 4.5 million kilograms of food scraps have been turned into compost which can then be reused in the city's gardens and parks.
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Mayor Paula Southgate said the project had put a real focus on what people threw out and the challenge now was to reduce recycling further and to be conscious of what was consumed.
"It wasn't always plain sailing, it was never going to be, because change is hard. But we're starting to see some real benefits now and I'm delighted to see this project already being held up as a great example of making a massive change."
The service enables Hamiltonians to help reach the council's 10-year goal to divert 150 million kilograms of waste away from landfill.
The other finalists in the environmental wellbeing category are Auckland Council/Waiheke Resources Trust for its Love our Wetlands Waiheke programme and Canterbury Regional Council (Environment Canterbury) for its Whakaora Te Ahuriri project to construct wetland improving water quality and biodiversity.
The awards are open to all of New Zealand's 78 local authorities. Winners will be announced at the LGNZ conference dinner in Blenheim next month.