Kaikoura was the best performer under the terms of the Waste Minimisation Act and as such, received a relatively meagre sum of just over $2,000.
“Tragically, those getting all the money aren’t necessarily the top performers,” says Colin King. Christchurch City council received $263.175, a relatively large chunk of the $3 million being distributed across 73 councils.
Those who dump the most waste in the landfill got the most money. How does this happen? The Waste Minimisation Act discourages waste disposal by imposing a levy of $10 per tonne of waste on disposal facilities such as landfills. Half of the money collected is allocated to councils on a population basis to spend on minimising waste in their area and the remaining levy money, minus administration costs, is made available for waste projects and education through the Waste Minimisation Fund.
“Kaikoura diverted some 72 per cent of all its rubbish during 2009 and I believe those who received the biggest pay out should now go and see what happens at a really efficient recycling centre. North Canterbury would be happier if there was a change as it would mean less waste being trucked into Kate Valley,” he says.
While Canterbury’s regional landfill received less waste than it had for the past 25 years, the quantity per household is still very high. The average Cantabrian now generates 464 kilograms of waste annually. “Unfortunately some city people have an out of sight, out of mind mentality,” says Mr King.
Kaikoura has been driven by the need to be outstanding due to the fact it’s a tourist centre. In 1998 it ceased all kerbside refuse collection and introduced kerbside recycling. The growing pressure put on the district due to community and visitor growth was a reason to embrace the Green Globe and Zero Waste vision. Kaikoura has had huge growth in visitor numbers since the 1990s and because the natural environment is a huge drawcard to visitors, any measures that move toward the protection of this natural environment is positive for the environmental, economic and social growth of the community.
Kaikoura has increased the volume of diversion of waste to 72 per cent of material received at the recycling centre as at June 2009. Since solid waste volume began being recorded in 2002, the volume of solid waste per person in the Kaikoura community has more than halved to 0.17 tonnes. This equates to 9 black rubbish bags or 176kilograms per person. An astounding set of figures when compared to Christchurch City which had 630 kilograms per person in 2008, equating to 65 black rubbish bags per person.
Money from the waste levy is distributed to councils to support their work to reduce, reuse and recycle waste; reducing harm to the environment and ensuring resources are used more efficiently. “What I am keen to see,” says Colin King “are more applications to the Waste Minimisation Fund from those in the community delivering waste minimisation education; people with new ideas to reduce waste and those wanting to expand the scope of existing waste reduction operations.
“Information about the fund is available on the Ministry for the Environment website with applications closing on 1 March 2010. I encourage anyone with good ideas to apply – these are the basis of the way forward,” says Mr King.