Waikato District Council is encouraging the Raglan community to participate in the continuation of the town's food waste collection service, which is now open for consultation.
Raglan has led the way in reducing waste to landfill and food waste management in the Waikato Region for many years now, thanks to the expertise of Xtreme Zero Waste.
Up until now the service has been funded via Ministry for the Environment, Council’s Waste Minimisation Fund and self-funded by Xtreme Zero Waste through fundraising.
But, for the service to continue to run beyond July 2022, an annual targeted rate of $72.90 (about $1.40 a week) is required to cover operational costs of the service.
This includes the cost of running and maintaining the collection vehicles, staff wages and the maintenance cost of processing equipment.
Council is legally required to consult on the continuation of the food waste collection service as it is proposing an introduction of a new targeted rate to the Raglan community.
This service was consulted on previously three years ago, but after 60% of respondents said they were not willing to pay a targeted rate, the Council were unable to financially support the continuation of the service.
Council is consulting again for the following reasons:
- Waste industry changes now include a national standardisation for kerbside collection being worked on by Government, which will include food waste as a priority area. This may lead to mandatory food waste collection services, which Raglan would be well prepared for as early adopters of this process.
- Costs of sending rubbish to landfill have risen considerably and will continue to do so, increasing benefits of landfill diversion.
- Raglan Community Board requested Council to do so.
The benefits of a food waste collection service are varied, and they include:
- Xtreme Zero Waste has diverted about 620 tonnes of food waste from households in Raglan in the first four years of operation.
- Food waste in landfill generates leachate which can pose an ongoing and long-term management issue in landfills as it is both toxic and can pollute groundwater and waterways.
- Landfills produce greenhouse gas emissions, methane and carbon dioxide which contribute to global warming/climate change.
- It creates a circular economy: the food waste collection and local processing creates multiple benefits - local jobs and a great high-end quality compost local product.
- Getting the food waste out of rubbish bags reduces animal strikes on bags and means people can fill their rubbish bag completely before putting it out as they no longer smell.
- The collection can complement home composting as you are able to put items out for collection that can’t usually break down in home composting units ( such as meat, seafood, citrus, bread, dairy).
Although a targeted rate needs to be introduced for the service to continue, those that use the food waste collection to its full extent can reduce the amount of waste in their rubbish bags by about 35%.
Therefore, some of the cost of the targeted rate can be offset by the fact that fewer rubbish bags need to be bought every year.
The results of the consultation will be considered as part of Council’s decision-making process about the future of the service.
The consultation closes on 1 April. The community is encouraged to get involved by going to Shape Waikato to provide feedback at https://shape.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/raglan-food-waste-2022
Feedback forms are also available at Council’s Raglan office and please look out in your letterbox for more information.