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Council indicates direction for Zone One rubbish collection

13 Jun 2024

Councillors have indicated their preferred option for Zone One rubbish level of service changes scheduled to take effect from 1 July 2025. 

After last week's hearings, elected members met this Wednesday to discuss which option is to be put forward for the council meeting, after considering written and verbal submissions and further information supplied by staff.  

Councillors chose Option 3 as the preferred option for the council meeting on June 26, 2024.  If the recommendation is signed off, this would mean a fortnightly rubbish wheelie bin collection in Zone One from July 2025, funded by a Pay as You Thow model.  

All ratepayers living in Zone One – except those on roads where the service is not provided - would be supplied with a 120-litre wheelie bin. Users would need to pre-purchase tags every time they want their rubbish emptied. Council would set the cost of the tags.  

Council will advise residents how such a tag or payment system would work once the operations and logistics have been confirmed.  

One topic discussed during the deliberations was the way the wheelie bins will be funded. Council staff advised that residents would pay for the collection via using the system and purchasing pre-paid tags. No upfront payments will be charged to the users.  

Council staff also confirmed that those who generate larger quantities of waste (over 120 L per fortnight) will still be able to drop off excess waste at the Westport and Reefton Transfer Stations.  

Manager Infrastructure Delivery Eric de Boer says: “It has been a long process, and the various views contributed through both written and verbal submissions enhanced the discussions amongst elected members this week.  

Issues raised by residents have highlighted what matters to the community around waste, from the desire to compost more, to better recycling and incentivising waste reduction. All this has contributed into Council’s deliberations.”  

A recurring question raised by submitters was why rubbish collected in Zone One is disposed of at the York Valley Landfill in Nelson.  

A 2024 report from Morrison Low utilising updated data answers this question and takes into account disposal costs, establishment expenses, rubbish volumes, and regulatory and consent requirements. The report is based on an earlier in-depth 2009 assessment which looked to compare developing a landfill at Caroline Terrace versus an out-of-district waste disposal option.   

Mr de Boer explains: “We wanted to provide updated data to our community and for councillors to add to the conversation.” 

The report echoes the 2009 assessment's findings that Buller doesn't produce sufficient waste to make a local landfill viable.  

Mr de Boer says: “For the most likely scenario, using a cost inflation of 200%, it would require at least 10,000 tonnes per annum to make a local landfill more cost-effective than transporting Buller’s waste to an out-of-district landfill. This is four times more waste than we currently generate, which indicates that stand-alone landfill for just Buller District remains unachievable”.    

Buller produces approximately 2,500 tonnes of waste per annum, which is disposed of at the York Valley Landfill.  In the long run, it is only the quantities that are generated across the whole West Coast (~13,000 tonnes per annum) that make a modern local landfill viable. 

Mr de Boer outlines the next step: “With the guidance from councillors provided this week, we can formulate a recommendation for the council meeting later this month.”  

Councillors will make the final decision during the council meeting on 26 June. Once a decision is made, council staff can start preparing for the open tender process.  

Cost proposals will be obtained from waste management companies New Zealand-wide through the open tender process. From this pool, a preferred provider will be chosen to collect the rubbish in Zone One in 2025.  

Staff expect to go out with the open tender in August 2024. Once tested market prices have been obtained, these would be reported back to council for final approval before the contract can be awarded towards the end of the year. 

Subject to approval of council, the new rubbish collection service will be implemented in Zone One from 1 July 2025. 

Notes for the reader 

The consultation was carried out between 12 April and 20 May 2024 and aimed to seek feedback about the rubbish collection services in Zone One that will be implemented from July 2025 onwards. 

150 submissions were received (88 online and 62 written), and six submitters spoke about their submissions during the hearing on Wednesday, June 5, 2024.  

35% of the submitters preferred Option 1 – keep Status Quo, 30% preferred Option 4 – multiple bin size options funded via rates, 15% preferred Option 3 – 120L wheelie bin funded via Pay as You Throw model, and 7% preferred Option 2 – service offered via a private commercial operator.  14% of the submissions were counted as offering ‘no view’ due to submitters marking two or more options or not marking any option. 


For further information, please contact:
Communications and Engagement Team  
Buller District Council