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Waste charges are increasing in Buller

02 Jun 2023

Charges for the disposal of refuse in Buller are set to rise from 1 July 2023. The increases apply to residential and commercial users.

For residents in recycling and refuse zone one, official refuse bags will cost $9.10 per bag, up from the current $7.10. The charge for rubbish dropped off to the Westport and Reefton transfer stations will rise from $440 per tonne to $503.70 per tonne.

Zone one in Buller includes Westport, the areas from Westport to the Mokihinui Bridge, Westport to Punakaiki, Westport to Reefton including Blacks Point, and Reefton to Ikamatua.

For commercial users, new charges will apply for large quantities of commercial recycling (amounts over 250kg). It will now cost $494 per tonne, up from $472 per tonne. Commercial quantities of glass will remain at $100 per tonne.

Buller District Council’s solid waste coordinator Juliana Ruiz says: “Cost factors for council’s contractor, Smart Environmental Limited (SEL), to deliver its refuse programme are increasing across the board, with the highest increase occurring in freight costs to transport the waste from Buller to York Valley Landfill in Nelson.”

Freight costs have increased both due to rising fuel costs and salary increases for drivers due to a national truck driver shortage.

Juliana Ruiz says: “The central government’s waste levy also increases this year to $50 per tonne. It will be $60 per tonne next year. This change was announced in 2019 when the levy rate for landfills accepting household waste was $10 per tonne. The aim is to try to reduce the amount of waste going to landfill, but the obvious direct impact for us is higher costs.

“Refuse charges in Buller cover kerbside collection, the handling fee at the local transfer stations, transportation from Westport and Reefton to the York Valley Landfill in Nelson, as well as the gate fee. On top of the waste levy and the Emissions Trading Scheme costs. SEL is unable to avoid passing on some of these costs.

“Residents have highlighted the cost of rubbish in the district as an issue. We are considering including rubbish wheelie bins in the new waste contract as an option from early 2025 onwards. Due to the significant change in service this would entail, Council will follow a consultation process with the community. More information and further details (such as estimated costs) will be shared later this year.”

Ms Ruiz says: “We are looking for options how we can minimise the impact of the continuing increase of waste management costs for residents. We understand that this is another increasing cost for households who have to manage tight budgets. We will keep the community informed on any potential changes and seek feedback at that time.”

Council is also considering a collaborative waste management approach, working in with Westland District Council and Grey District Council. Eric de Boer manager infrastructure delivery says: “Combining and aligning waste management across the three districts would pool resources, create economies of scale, increase efficiency and create more competition between service providers.”

For more information on ways to minimise waster, residents can go to council’s website.

Note: The fees charged for rubbish bags and the per tonne price for rubbish in this media release were amended on 8 June 2023. The prices for the 12 months commencing 1 July 2023 were changed as below:

  • Refuse bag: $9.20 to $9.10
  • Refuse per tonne: $515 to $503.70

This decrease is due to an unexpected change in the charges for waste delivered to York Valley Landfill charged to Council’s contractor Smart Environmental Limited. This change was made public after the media release was published and not anticipated.

further information please contact:
Solid waste coordinator
Juliana Ruiz