Tauranga rubbish being wasted

A summer audit of Tauranga's rubbish shows that residents are wasting their rubbish - most of what is going in the rubbish can be recycled or composted.

Tauranga City Council environmental committee members heard this week the results of the audit, which involved a team of strong-nosed people going through rubbish bags and sorting the rubbish, show that about 70 per cent of Tauranga's rubbish can be recycled or composted.

Instead, it's being trucked to the Hampton downs landfill in the Waikato. Most of the divertible rubbish is household food waste.

The survey collected rubbish from bins as well as bags, with the results showing households using the bigger 240 litre wheelie bins are throwing out more recyclables than the bag and small bin users.

Council asked staff last year to find out how much of the Tauranga rubbish going to landfill, can be diverted through re-cycling.

“This is a significant piece of work. It establishes an accurate baseline for our community's waste habits and we'll be able to use this baseline to measure the effectiveness of any new services or changes to the waste facilities going forward,” says city council manager of resource recovery and waste, Rebecca Maiden.

“This is the first time Tauranga waste audits have been undertaken to this level of detail.”

More audits are planned for winter and autumn to establish a baseline across all four seasons of the year. The study is government funded.

When the audits are completed the council and community will need to consider its options for Tauranga rubbish.

“It's a sobering report,” says committee chair Steve Morris.

“It's my view that our current waste system is untenable and we will need to make a change. We are letting the environment down and we're slipping behind the rest of the country too.”