Buller District Council

Our vision for Buller

The Waste Minimisation and Management Plan (WMMP) sets out how Council will progress efficient and effective waste management and minimisation in the West Coast region.

It paves the way forward, considering current policy and the legal framework and West Coast region vision, with an overarching suite of guiding goals and objectives.

Our long-term vision is to have the community understand their waste consumption, their impact on the environment and commit to refuse, reduce, and recycle choices.


Through education, collaboration, and support the Buller District Council aims to move the district – our home – towards a circular economy. This means the Buller District is operating sustainably and meets climate and waste management standards. To view the plan please click the link West Coast Regional WMMP 2018 (1Mb)

Waste minimisation goals

To monitor progress towards this goal Council uses three key indicators. The aim is for the district to reach these by 2025:

  • Our goal is to reduce the average amount of waste per resident to 25 kg/per head per month
  • Our goal is to reduce the percentage of contaminated recycling to 20% per month of total recyclable material collected
  • Our goal is to increase the percentage of recycling collected to 35% per month of total waste produced.

Why have goals?

Limited facilities in Buller
The district has very limited facilities to deal with refuse and no facilities to process recyclable materials.  To keep this measure proportional to the people living in the district and to make it comparable, we calculate this indicator as the total amount of waste produced divided by the number of people living in Buller ( average amount of waste per resident per month ( kg/per head)). Reducing refuse as part of the equation is extremely important since there is no means of reusing or processing refuse. Refuse items have reached their end of life. The only way to dispose of these items is in a landfill where they accumulate. If recyclable materials are recycled right they can have a second life but increasingly there is no market for recycling and NZ has very limited facilities to process recycling. An example of a product made from recycled milk bottles is here.

Contaminated recycling ends up in landfills

Contaminated recycling from Buller that will have to be sent to a landfill in Nelson

Possible extra cost to ratepayers 

Contaminated recycling causes a lot of work and extra cost for ratepayers. Often, if recycling is highly contaminated, the entire amount of recycling has to be disposed into landfills – even the clean and recyclable materials in the mix. To know how much of the recycling collected is contaminated and disposed of to landfill Council captures this as a percentage of the total amount of recyclable material collected. This is an indicator of residents’ behavior capturing how bad or well residents follow the recycling guidelines. It is in residents’ hands to decide where we are with this indicator. Each of us decides if the plastic milk bottles go to a landfill or have a second life.

Nelson York Valley in Nelson where Buller’s waste material goes

This indicator puts the first and second measurements into perspective. Two factors can positively influence this measure – either the total amount of waste reduces and/or the amount of recycling material increases. If we reduce waste material and recycle right, ultimately this measure should increase. The key is to move Buller towards generating a more managed waste footprint. With this indicator, we look at the big picture and tie refuse minimisation and recycling right together.

How do we monitor this? 

We monitor these indicators monthly and publish how we are tracking on our Facebook page RRRBuller.  Like our page and keep up to date with how we are going.

What can you do? 

You just made the first step and got informed. Now take action and reduce your waste and recycle right. We have provided information on our website to help you get started. For more inspiration and handy advice like our facebook page and take action now.


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