Whanganui residents will be able to put out rubbish bags for kerbside collection for just another five months.
From December 31, sole rubbish bag collector Waste Management will offer a wheelie bin waste collection service only, as part of its "commitment to sustainability".
This will include a new PayAsUGO service where customers can choose how often they want their waste collected, with no fixed contract or minimum monthly spend.
"PayAsUGO has been designed to give customers flexibility and control. You pay less
if you create less waste," a Waste Management spokeswoman said.
Customers can opt for a small 80-litre bin for $4.60 a week, a medium 140-litre bin for $10.40 a week and a large 240-litre bin for $13.90 a week.
There is also the option of a garden waste wheelie bin in two sizes - a 140-litre bin for $7 a week or a 240-litre bin for $10.10 a week.
The system will allow customers to pause their scheduled collection and pay only when the bin is emptied.
The PayAsUGO service does not offer a recycling collection; however, the company's new WMGO system does.
There is a 140-litre bin or a 240-litre bin that is collected weekly and customers have the option to have two bins.
Customers will have the choice of paying monthly or annually.
Waste Management said it is also making the move to bins for health and safety reasons.
The spokeswoman said collecting waste in single-use plastic bags can be hazardous to their team.
"Drivers/runners are required to collect the bags, which means they can be at risk
from traffic and hazardous or sharp objects thrown out in the waste. By comparison,
our team can stay safely in the trucks during wheelie bin collections."
And the Whanganui District Council's waste minimisation chairman, Rob Vinsen agrees.
"The bins are a lot more sustainable, but I think the major issue about bags though is health and safety as there is difficulties with throwing bags onto a truck all the time whereas the bins are single side arm automated one-man operation."
Vinsen said he believed people could save money by using a wheelie bin instead of rubbish bags.
"A sticker for a 40 litre bag costs around $4.50 but you can get a 80 litre wheelie bin on a fortnightly service for $8.50 a month so actually people are concerned at the cost, but if they analyse it they will find with wheelie bins they can just use a small one and it won't cost them any more than what it is now."
Council's waste minimisation adviser Stuart Hylton said Waste Management told the council last year it might move from bags to bins only on the basis of health and safety.
He said the new system will be considered in the Waste Management and Minimisation Plan review that will look into the waste collection services that the council could possibly offer.
The debate around the future of waste collection in Whanganui, and potential introduction of a ratepayer-funded collection, is set to continue almost two years after a district-wide survey which led to little change.
A community survey put out by the council, and filled in by 30 per cent of households, found 44 per cent wanted ratepayer-funded kerbside recycling and rubbish collection. Forty per cent wanted the status quo - privately run rubbish collection and drop-off recycling - to continue.
But no change will happen until the Waste Management and Minimisation Plan review, Hylton said.
"I can't speak on behalf of council but the matter will go forward to the waste minimisation group at their next meeting."
Hylton sad there are a lot of options when it comes to bins.
"It's not simply a 60L bag vs a 240L bin - it's all about frequency, it's about the size of the bins. There is a variation to drive those and what goes in the bins because you can get the mix of bins with some for waste but you could also give them an organic bin which some councils have."
Vinsen said the 2018 survey found that around half the households that responded were using plastic bags and half were using wheelie bins.
"It's a substantial amount of people and there is concern about cost but the public need to understand what is available to them through the waste companies."
Waste Management's lower North Island general manager David Howie says while moving from plastic bag collections to wheelie bins will be a change, it should be a simple transition for the community.
"We've got a great alternative in PayAsUGO. It's flexible, easy to use and better for
the environment. And you only pay for the bin empties you need. We're really proud
to be offering Whanganui such a great service."
Whanganui is one of the last places to have a rubbish bag service. Waste Management said there would be no changes to staff numbers with the move to wheelie bins only.
To view details of the new system go to www.wastemanagement.co.nz/for-home/product-groups/wheelie-bins