New waste collection service preparations underway

Pictured: Recycling crates will be replaced with wheelie bins under the new QLDC solid waste service plan, which will kick off district-wide on July 1.

With Upper Clutha residents scheduled to receive their new rubbish and recycling wheelie bins starting this week, the Wanaka Sun pulled together an update on what residents ought to know in anticipation of the Queenstown Lakes District’s waste collection service change.

Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) confirmed that Upper Clutha residents will start receiving their new bins starting today (Thursday) through approximately June 19. In collaboration with Waste Management New Zealand Ltd and Wanaka Wastebusters on the new service, each household will be delivered with two 140-litre bins, for separate glass recycling and rubbish, and one 240-litre bin for mixed recycling. Until the new ratepayer-funded kerbside collection service starts district-wide on July 1, residents will need to continue to use their blue rubbish bags and black recycling crates; however, refunds will not be available for unused rubbish bags once the new service begins.

“When your new bins arrive, please check the number on your bin matches your property as they are tagged and allocated to your address,” said Rebecca Pitts, QLDC senior communications advisor. “We’d also like to ask people to help out absentee owners by moving bins in off the street.”

The new waste management and services plan, which has garnered community concerns on its influence in an increase in rates for district residents from an average rise of 5.99 percent for the 2019-20 year, as indicated in the 2018-2028 Ten-Year Plan, to 8.72 percent.

“Yes, it’s correct that the new waste service will impact rates,” said Pitts. “Details on this were included in our draft Annual Plan and consultation document. The cost per serviced property is $160 per annum.”

Council has said the service change, paid for through a targeted rate, could represent an overall cost savings for many residents. On QLDC’s website, council states, “Please note the higher rates increases below reflect the effect of the new solid waste contract. As discussed above, many of these properties will be able to offset the additional $160 in rates against savings in current costs for hiring refuse bins and or purchasing blue bags.”

Pitts said, “For many the change will represent an overall cost saving, for others it’s probably a cost neutral proposition, some may end up paying a little more. For those individuals who are already on their way to creating minimal waste, we acknowledge and accept that for you, there is a price to supporting the whole district’s journey towards zero waste. The new service will be the same for all, district-wide.”

The Wanaka Sun also wanted to know how the new waste service incentivises users to reduce landfill waste seeing that the rubbish bin size is pre-determined and users cannot opt out of the weekly collection service.

“The size of the 140-litre rubbish bin was given careful consideration,” said Pitts. “A priority of the new contract is to reduce recycling contamination as much as possible. The 140-litre rubbish bin will help to avoid rubbish overflow being dumped in the recycling bins. The new rubbish wheelie bin will seem large to many households, especially those further along the zero waste journey. Many people won't need to put it out every week, or even every few weeks, and that's where we'd like everyone to get to in the long-term. However, in the meantime, we have to look after our recycling and make sure no-one is tempted to fill up (and contaminate) their recycling bins with rubbish. The size will also allow for less frequent collections if a kerbside organics collection is introduced in the future (without needing to replace the bins).”

As for the residents who are currently paying for privately sourced rubbish collection pick up from AllWaste, they can expect communication on what to do next.

“We understand AllWaste are writing to their customers to organise collection of their bins,” said Pitts.  “Residents can continue their private service if they choose to. However, this would result in ‘paying twice’ as there is no ability to opt out of the service.”


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