Western Bay of Plenty District councillors got down and dirty recently when faced with sorting through bags of household rubbish randomly collected from outside the gates of properties on collection day.
Councillors were asked to separate the contents in to various recyclable and organic containers.
The exercise was part of a solid waste workshop and aimed to give councillors insight into the types of rubbish commonly stuffed in household refuse bags for weekly collection around the District.
The rubbish sorting exercise highlighted the high percentage of recyclables that were in each bag compared with organic rubbish – indicating a relatively low level of recycling among that particular sample of households.
The workshop was held to inform and take direction from councillors about the Waste Management and Minimisation Plan that all councils must now develop under the Waste Minimisation Act passed by Government in 2008.
The Act requires councils to produce waste management and minimisation plans by July 2012 and provides for a levy on waste going to landfills. Part of the levy is given to councils to use in waste minimisation.
Council's current solid waste strategy confirms the role of Council in solid waste planning, education and enforcement, but limits the provision of services to operating recycling and greenwaste drop off facilities.
Council rate-funds recycling and greenwaste drop-off sites at Waihi Beach and Katikati with another planned in Te Puke.
Council has a solid waste expenditure of $1.381m.
Council's recycling centres cost $870,000 to operate in 2010.
The Ministry for the Environment has proposed a target of 20% reduction of waste to landfill from 2010 to 2015 and the Act requires councils to promote effective and efficient waste minimisation in their District.