Waste minimisation

Council's role

Council is focused on promoting and supporting waste minimisation in Waitaki.

Waste minimisation is different from recycling. Instead of trying to work out what to do with waste, waste minimisation is about reducing the amount of waste we create in the first place – for example, buying items with less or no packaging.

We made a decision a few years ago to focus on waste minimisation rather than providing kerbside rubbish collection and recycling - these services have been left to the private market.

This means you don't pay for these services in your rates and can instead choose what service you use and how much you spend.

Some benefits of this system are:

  • The less you waste, the less you pay
  • You get to choose the service you want
  • You don't have to pay rates for people who create more waste
  • If you have a holiday home in the District, you can make your own arrangements to suit
  • Competition is encouraged in the market place
  • Council can focus on trying to minimise waste rather than on end-of-line solutions such as recycling

In addition to promoting waste minimisation, we are also responsible for managing the District's landfills and four of the District's resource recovery parks.

The landfills and recovery parks cost around $2 million every year to operate and generate an income of around $1 million. The remaining amount is funded by general rates across the District. By minimising the waste going to landfill Council can keep the cost of rates down.

'Waste less, save more'

Each of us, on average, produces three times more rubbish than we did 20 years ago - and we are running out of places to put it.

Although disposing of waste responsibly and recycling everything you can is great, there is a cost. While recycling items is far better than throwing them out in the rubbish, it still uses up precious energy resources and creates pollution.

Rubbish that can't be recycled goes to landfill. Landfills are expensive to operate – the district's landfills cost around $2 million a year and generate an income of around $1 million. The remaining amount is funded by general rates across the district.

Waste is unavoidable, but there are things we can all do to create less of it such as buying only what we need, buying products with less packaging, reusing items, composting and using cloth nappies when we can.Waste minimisation is about reducing the amount of waste created in the first place. It has far reaching benefits for households, the district and our environment.

When waste is minimised:

  • You save money for rubbish disposal and recycling collection or drop-off
  • It's easier for Council to keep the cost of rates down
  • Less of our precious resources are used up

These are the main reasons why Council has chosen to focus on waste minimisation, rather than kerbside recycling and rubbish collection.

Waste minimisation tips

Most items you purchase have some form of material that will end up as waste. Making an effort to minimise the amount of waste you create is a win-win – it's good for our planet and it's good for your wallet.

Some easy ways to minimise waste (and save money):

  • Grow your own - wherever possible, grow it or do it yourself: home grown vegetables and homemade chutneys, pesto, sauces, baking, pies etc. usually require no, or only reusable packaging.
  • 'Buy well, buy once' - avoid products with excess packaging and 'one use' or disposable items. Buying things that last is environmentally beneficial and saves you money in the long run.
  • Support the 'good guys' - go for products, shops and companies that have an environmentally friendly ethos. Look for products where parts (such as batteries) can be replaced.
  • Clear your mail - if you have no use for advertising material that is delivered to your home, get a 'No Advertising Material' sign for your letterbox.
  • Reusable shopping bags - Keep reusable bags in your car, next to your shopping list or in a handy spot and use instead of plastic bags. Note: many supermarkets or eco-stores sell these very cheaply so stock up on your next shopping trip.
  • Carry your goods by hand - shops often offer bags for one or two items, but if you're only walking back to the car, you may not need a bag.
  • Buy in bulk - if you want snack sized portions, buy in bulk and use reusable containers.
  • Buy products with biodegradable packaging - raw material used is grown and replenished annually providing vast employment opportunities all year round. Natural products don't present health issues as do plastics.
  • Use cloth nappies - did you know that if every parent in NZ used just one cloth nappy per day we could prevent one million nappies from going to landfill per week?