August 2005

Waitakere passes innovative standardizing waste bylaw

New Zealand— Waitakere City passed a new bylaw that is regarded as the most progressive waste minimization program ever proposed by local government.

The council has joined forces with North Shore City to formally address all aspects of the region’s waste, including collection and disposal, “scavenging” of inorganic rubbish, the distribution of unsolicited mail, waste management facilities and waste collection operations.

The changes replace the Councils’ existing waste bylaw, which they had a statutory obligation to review by 2008.

The main objective of the bylaw is to standardize the city’s waste management activities and support a number of national waste initiatives and central government legislation, which include the New Zealand Waste Strategy (a joint effort between the Ministry for the Environment and Local Government New Zealand), “Zero Waste” policies, the Litter Act, Health Act, and Local Government Act.

Levies and licenses summary: Businesses and individuals involved in waste collection, transportation and disposal will be required to obtain a license. The councils will enter into consultation early next year to determine what levies may be required. Rationale: The aim is to make people more responsible for the rubbish they generate. The user pays for the rising costs of disposing of rubbish.

Inorganic collections & scavenging summary: It will be an offense to remove inorganic waste placed out for collection if: 1) it is repeatedly being taken for the purpose of resale or commercial gain; or 2) it is removed in a manner likely to cause injury; or 3) it is scattered, damaged or broken in such a fashion that it could become a nuisance.

Distributing unaddressed, unsolicited material This part of the bylaw will not become operational until July 1, 2006. The Council is working closely with the Marketing Association to develop a national code of practice aimed at regulating the distribution of unsolicited advertising material based on these guidelines. If the outcome of this code meets the council’s expectations then this part of the bylaw may be revoked.

A recent analysis of Waitakere City street litter shows that 16.6% is junk mail. The analysis also shows that the junk mail content of litter increases by a massive 33% on the day it is delivered, costing councils tens of thousands of ratepayer dollars to clean up the mess.

Managing waste at special events summary: Special event organizers will need to produce a waste management plan when applying for consent to use a public place to host a special event.

The bylaw also covers other areas, including the use of public litter and recycle bins, and the provision of waste management plans for multi-unit properties that have been granted building consent after July 1, 2006.

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