New Waste Reduction Goal Is Achievable With Community Support

Saturday 18 August 2012, 4:32AM
By Far North District Council

The drive is on to further reduce the volume of Far North household waste going to landfills for final disposal.

Residents have reduced household waste from about 300kg per head of population to 276 kg in the last 12 months.

Council refuse manager Bruce Hows says this is a pleasing result and well-ahead of average waste reduction across New Zealand.

However, there is still a lot people can do to reduce waste going to landfills.

"It's in the interests of the whole community to maximise re-cycling opportunities and waste nothing of value or use.”

Mr Hows says the Climate Change Act brings landfills into the Emissions Trading Scheme from January next year.

This will have a significant financial impact on waste disposal costs.

“The new target in the waste minimisation programme seeks to reduce the average volume of household waste per head of population over the next 12 months to under 200kg a year.

“We believe with community support this is very achievable," he says.

Waste audits in recent months have shown that kerbside bags put out for collection still contain a glass content of about 20 percent, all of which could be recycled.

A further 30 percent of the bag content was organic material which could be composted for the home garden.

"With a little more effort, we could halve the volume of household waste going to landfill. This equates to substantial savings in transportation and landfill costs.

Removing green waste and food scraps and throwing them in the compost bin or worm farm will help reduce costly methane emissions at landfills.

“It will save you money on bag purchases and at the same time produce fantastic fertiliser for the home vegetable and flower gardens,"

"It just makes so much sense to replace fertilisers with compost – less watering will be required, soil fertility will improve and the added bonus is a bumper crop.

“Everybody is a winner," he says.

To encourage the waste reduction drive, the council is talking to major retail outlets in the Far North to discount the price of compost bins during spring.

Staff are also looking at options to offer spot prizes for recycling efforts.

The council has also established a new recycling centre to serve the Totara North area, similar to those already successfully operating at Rawene, Whangaroa, Peria and Broadwood.

"If the community gets on board with these initiatives, the waste per head of population target of 200kg a year is well within reach," he says.