Community, Council

Wheelie bins proposal back from the brink

Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil says what the service might looked like would be clearer after the review process. File photo.

Wheelie bins are back on the table in Marlborough, with a waste review calling them an “ideal” solution to “inconvenient” bin bags and crates.

Marlborough District Council has been deliberating over wheelie bins for more than a decade, with the cost of rolling out close to 40,000 bins – two per household – a regular sticking point.

A look at council services in 2009 and 2010 ended up settling on recycling crates and a new resource recovery centre.

The idea was debated again in 2015, but shelved, then rehashed in 2017 after a survey of 5400 residents showed 39 per cent wanted the bins to replace their bags and crates.

Council concluded the price was too much for residents.

But another waste assessment compiled earlier this year could see them get over the line.

It showed residents believed the current system was “inconvenient” and had “outlived its useful purpose”, with wheelie bins the “ideal practical resolution”.

Some thought their recycling crates were too small for the amounts recycled, with some admitting their “excess” goods were put into bin bags, “lost to landfill for ease of disposal”.

Others pointed out that new housing developments in Blenheim and Picton had caused rubbish collection routes to grow, leaving recycling crates in the wind and rain longer.

Rain-soaked paper or cardboard could not be recycled, and recycling blown from the crates often became street litter.

“Recycling left beside the container is not removed by the contractor. People without access to transport cannot take excess product to the recycling centre,” feedback in the waste assessment says.

Residents also say the council-issued bin bags suited small households, not bigger ones, and should be biodegradable.

The assessment estimated it would cost $2 million to send out about 36,000 refuse and recycling bins in Marlborough.

Speaking after the assessment was adopted by council last week, council solid waste manager Alec McNeil says the $2m was a “best estimate”, which could change.

Whether wheelie bins meant higher rates depended on several factors, including rubbish volumes and the number of properties signed up to the service, he says.

There was also talk of a waste collection service involving boats for residents living in remote parts of the Marlborough Sounds.

Alex says what the service could look like would be worked out during the waste management plan process.

It also recommended councils were incentivised to collect food waste for composting, collect glass separately to other recyclables, and do more promotion to get people to sort their waste correctly.

About 4370 tonnes of waste was recycled in Marlborough last year, compared to 7615 tonnes sent to landfill.

Residents could submit feedback on the assessment’s proposals on the council website before November 16.

LDR - Local Democracy Reporting

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