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West Coast councils explore options for food and green waste collection

17 Jun 2024

Buller, Grey and Westland District Councils, Development West Coast and the Ministry for the Environment have joined forces to explore how food and green waste collection could look in urban centres on the coast from 2030 onwards. 

Central government announced in May 2023 that by 2030, all district and city councils must provide food and green waste collection for households in urban areas with a population of over 1,000 people.   

Buller District Council’s manager infrastructure delivery Eric de Boer says: “To prepare for this change, we need to understand the current attitudes and behaviours of people around food and green waste on the West Coast. Gathering this knowledge as part of the feasibility study is crucial for our planning and will enable us to frame up options that are fit-for-purpose for our communities.” 

The regional feasibility is estimated to cost a total of $100,000. Te Pūtea Whakamauru Para – the Waste Minimisation Fund, which is administered by the Ministry for the Environment will fund $75,000. Development West Coast will fund $10,000, and each district council will contribute $5,000. 

Dextera Ltd, a local company with expertise in environmental science and project management, will conduct the study. Whirika Ltd, a Dunedin-based company specialising in sustainability and waste management, will provide technical specialist support.   

Grey District Council’s solid waste officer Kaia Beal says: “The feasibility study will give councils clarity on key topics to progress the planning.”  

The study will outline a preferred approach for food scraps and green waste kerbside collection, the ideal bin sizes for collection, the optimum collection frequency, and identify suitable organic waste processing options for the region. Options for processing facilities need to consider regional particularities, the quantities generated, weather impacts and the potential uses for the end products created in these facilities.  

The study will also examine how these facilities could be established, focusing on either one centralised facility or multiple facilities distributed across the West Coast. Lastly, it will cover potential markets for, and end users of, these products.  

Westland District Council’s operations project manager David Louw explains: “We will begin with an audit of rubbish bins and bags in the main centres across the West Coast in June 2024, looking at the quantity and types of food and green waste they contain. This will enable us to better define the volumes of food and green waste currently disposed of in landfills across the region.” 

This will be followed by a community survey throughout July to better understand the behaviours and attitudes of urban West Coasters regarding food and green waste. District councils will inform their residents how they can participate in the survey at the start of July 2024. 

The study is expected to be completed by May 2025. Based on its outcome, all parties involved will decide on the next steps, which will likely include a business case.  

Mr de Boer highlights: “2030 seems quite far away, but considering the complexity, it is actually quite close. Starting now will put us in a good position to begin the journey. 

I encourage people to participate in the survey in July to provide us with as much information as possible to develop options that fit the end user.”  

About Te Pūtea Whakamauru Para – the Waste Minimisation Fund 

The purpose of Te Pūtea Whakamauru Para – the Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) is to boost New Zealand’s performance in waste minimisation. The WMF invests in infrastructure, services, and educational activity throughout New Zealand. The fund is primarily enabled through the waste disposal levy.   

There is considerable scope in New Zealand to reduce waste and increase the recovery of useful resources from waste. Lifting our performance in recovering economic value from waste also provides environmental, social, and cultural benefits and reduces the risks of harm from waste. More information about the fund can be found on the Ministry for the Environment website. 

Notes to the reader 

Food waste includes fruits and vegetables and their skins, peelings and scraps (e.g., onion skins, potato peelings, avocado stones and corn cobs), grain and cereal products, meat and fish scraps including bones, cooked foods, leftover takeaways, processed foods, dairy products, and shellfish and their shells.  

Green or garden waste includes lawn clippings, weeds, leaves, flowers, and small branches. 


For further information please contact: 

Buller District Council:  

Grey District Council: 

Westland District Council: