Getting rubbish sorted: Grey Lynn 2030 waste submission

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The Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away team are one of our most active groups who really know their stuff. They understand how waste can be avoided, minimised and “rubbish” turned into a valuable resource.  They have done a great job drafting our submission to Auckland Council on the proposed Auckland-wide draft plan to deal with waste in Auckland and to provide consistent services across the region.

There are many proposals in the Plan that Waste Away strongly support and have come up with many suggestions to make it even better.

You can have your say on the plan until 4pm on Tuesday 31 January. A submission only takes a few minutes using the online form. Please use what you support from the Grey Lynn 2030 submission (the answers below and comments follow the online qusestions).

Submission to the Auckland Council on the draft Auckland Waste Minimisation and Management Plan by Grey Lynn 2030: Transition Community

Introduction
Grey Lynn 2030 would like to congratulate the Auckland Council on the draft Auckland Waste Management and Minimisation Plan (the Plan). We endorse many of the waste minimisation proposals presented in the Plan and hope that our submission also draws focus to the key task we all have to avoid waste creation in the first place. As a community organisation, Grey Lynn 2030 is encouraged by Auckland Council’s proposed support for local waste minimisation initiatives and we would like to see this Council lead the way in establishing local resource recovery facilities throughout the region as proposed in the Plan. We believe national product stewardship schemes are a critical next step to help address end-of-life options for many of the products and packaging types consumers use and discard every day. We therefore encourage Auckland Council to advocate for this national product stewardship legislative change.

About Grey Lynn 2030
Grey Lynn 2030 is a participatory community organisation that facilitates and supports local focus groups working towards a positive, connected, sustainable, resilient community through practical action.

We take our terms of reference from the international Transition Town movement which encourages local communities to respond to current environmental and economic challenges with positive solutions that tap into the skills and innovation available in the local community. There are currently 55 Transition Town groups throughout New Zealand, Grey Lynn 2030 being one of the most active.
Grey Lynn 2030 has over 1300 direct subscribers to regular updates and 3500 “friends” on facebook. We host regular meetings and have active focus groups promoting community gardens, traffic calming, waste reduction, regeneration of local streams and a range of innovative activities that contribute to the community. One of our most active groups is Grey Lynn 2030 Waste Away. This is a group of community volunteers committed to promoting and taking action to reduce waste to landfill in our local community. Waste Away’s actions to date include:

  • A local E-Waste drop-off collection event held in 2009 prior to the inorganic collection which reduced hazardous computer waste disposed of to landfill and enabled its reuse/repair.
  • Foodwaste Action by encouraging households to reduce foodwaste to landfill by avoiding foodwaste in the first place and using at-home worm farms, composting and/or bokashi systems for food waste recycling.
  • Setting up café/restaurant food waste diversion from landfill by composting/worm farm onsite and a collection/composting system and holding Bokashi bucket demonstrations at a local cafe.
  •  A weekly education stall at the Grey Lynn Farmers market since 2009, once a month at the Parnell Farmers Market since April 2011, and each year at the Grey Lynn Park Festival since 2009.
  • Provision of street-side recycling facilities and an education stall at the West Lynn & Grey Lynn Street Parties in 2010 and 2011 and at Grey Lynn’s Rugby World Cup Adopt a team events
  • Collection of 6 x 240L wheelie bins full of glass and aluminium cans from the Grey Lynn Park Festival 2010 with the support of Visy.
  • Provision of a household battery collection at the weekly Grey Lynn Farmers Market and the promotion of rechargeable battery use.
  • Promotion and sale of reusable cups to replace single use disposable cups and lids and home-composting systems.
  • Education via the Grey Lynn 2030 monthly meetings, newsletters and website.

Grey Lynn 2030 is based in Grey Lynn, Auckland, encompassing the surrounding neighbourhoods that are in the west side of the Waitemata Local Board area (including Westmere, Ponsonby, Freeman’s Bay, Herne Bay and St Mary’s Bay).

Our submission
Q1. Target of 30% reduction in the amount of domestic kerbside waste sent to landfill, per person, by 2018
Answer: Agree.
Comment: We want to encourage not only households but all sectors of the community to reduce waste to landfill. Having a challenging yet measurable target will help to focus Council efforts and encourage collaborations with different sectors and groups.

Q2. Disposer-Pays Refuse Collection
Answer: Agree
Comment: We want to encourage user-pays for refuse disposal as it provides consistency across the region and an economic incentive to reduce waste.

Q3. Wheelie Bins vs Bags
Answer: Agree
Comment: The wheelie bin option has distinct advantages from a health & safety perspective, however we note their use would limit the range of service providers who will be able to tender for the Council collection contracts. A wheelie-bin collection service would need to be flexible enough to effectively cater to the range of property types throughout the region, for example multi-unit dwellings, rural properties, and difficult to access properties. If particular communities (such as in rural areas or on Waiheke Island) are able to provide collection services that offer local jobs and support community-based systems, Council should enable these to be considered. While the benefits of creating a uniform council-owned waste collection system are multiple, there is also the risk of becoming dependent on a single private provider which has vested interests in waste creation rather than waste reduction. We also believe that we should be first using those wheelie bins that are currently being used by households in order to reduce waste and cost to the rate payer, and would advocate for the proposed RFID tags to be retrofitted to existing bins instead if possible. The manufacturer of new wheelie bins should be undertaken in New Zealand.

Q4. Organic Waste collection from every household
Answer: Agree
Preferred option: Food waste plus green waste.
Comment: Food waste plus green waste, provided good processing options are established. Biodegradable packaging and food-contaminated paper would therefore be able to be included in the proposed organic waste bin also.

Q5. Rates funded inorganic collection every one or two years
Answer: Disagree
Preferred option: Other
Comment: Kerbside collections provide no incentive for residents to reduce the amount of waste they produce, do not encourage product stewardships schemes, cost ratepayers a lot, and scavengers break and damage items that could otherwise be reused or recycled via resource recovery centres. Even though there is a lot of community support for the kerbside service we believe there are better ways to maximise the value of unwanted goods without causing the myriad of environmental, health and safety problems kerbside collections bring to our streets. Annual or biennial kerbside collections also undermines efforts to put in place resource recovery centres which is our preferred option.
We support the establishment of a Resource Recovery Network as is proposed in the Plan, together with a user-pays booking system (collected from within a property not on the kerbside). Savings made from cancelling inorganic collections, the use of waste levy funds, and the sale of recovered materials, could be used to support a network of Resource Recovery facilities across the region where both businesses and residents could drop off unwanted materials all year around and a place to source used materials also.

Q6. Advocating for produce stewardship schemes
Answer: Agree
Comment: It would ensure both producers and consumers take greater responsibility for the environmental costs of the products and packaging they produce and/or consume and would keep products and packaging from entering the waste stream and facilitate better design that promotes recovery and recycling.

Q7. Implementation of a comprehensive communications, community engagement and community development programme
Answer: Agree
Comment: It is crucially important to encourage widespread uptake of the proposed waste minimisation changes to collections and services, and to promote everyday actions to reduce waste. Communication strategies should be specifically designed to reach and engage with the full range of Auckland’s diverse communities, sectors and groups.

Q8. Other feedback on the Plan

  • We fully support advocating for mandatory Product Stewardship for packaging, e-waste, batteries and tyres and amendments to the Waste Minimisation Act to give industry the same waste minimisation obligations as local authorities. Also support developing and enacting a bylaw to support the aim and intent of this plan and cleanfill regulations
  • We fully support recycling for schools and developing a Resource Recovery Network
  • We fully support fostering new ideas for community waste minimisation initiatives
  • We fully support public place recycling and zero waste events
  • We fully support managing litter and illegal dumping
  • We fully support the school Waste Wise programme and believe more resources should be put into it. Schools are ideal communities to trial and model zero waste practices, being relatively controlled by large organisations that use many products and include activities such as food preparation, wood and mental work etc. They also are often undergoing construction – therefore many of the domestic, industrial and public activities that produce waste in the community at large, happen at schools. The current Waste Wise team is dedicated and knowledgeable, and have been invaluable to the significant progress made in this area at Western Springs College and other schools over the past few years.
  • Reinstate separate paper collection because the current comingling with glass reduces the quality of the paper/cardboard materials and is less likely to be recycled in New Zealand. Paper and cardboard can be recycled in New Zealand, when collected and sorted effectively, and this would support New Zealand businesses.
  • Provide several collection points to drop off for example batteries and eco light bulbs.
  • Install water fountains in all public places e.g. beaches, parks, main shopping areas, so people can drink water or refill their water bottle – which encourages people not to buy plastic water bottles
  • Put resources into more education of the public, residential and businesses about ways to avoid excess packaging
  • Support beverage container deposits and advocate for legislation for this
  • Grant local community waste and recycling contracts rather than region-wide contracts and for the council to manage these services, which would allow them to be run without profit and enable pro-active employment strategies for disadvantaged groups and youth, in keeping with other aspects of the Auckland Plan.
  • Advocate for legislation for an Organic Waste Ban to Landfill by 2020
  • Help local rural communities to establish community-based or rural based composting or organic waste diversion to landfill operations
  • Sponsor free consultation for Cleaner Production for Business and Industry
  • Subsidise Worm Farm/Compost bins to encourage at-home food waste minimisation

We would like to speak in support of our submission at a public meeting.

Lynn Green
For the Grey Lynn 2030 Steering committee

Contact:
Lynn Green
E: GreyLynn2030@gmail.com
www.greylynn2030.co.nz
www.facebook.com/greylynn2030

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