Rubbish bag changes - questions and answers

There are some upcoming changes to rubbish and recycling service offerings provided on the Coast. Kerbside rubbish and recycling services are not included in your rates, and are based on a user pays system.

What’s changing?

EnviroWaste (also trading as Clean Green and Budget Waste), one of four providers operating on the Coast, has chosen to no longer sell the combination yellow rubbish bag and recycling bin service. This means plastic rubbish bag users will need to look into an alternative rubbish and recycling service.

Why is Envirowaste getting rid of plastic bags?

Moving away from bagged rubbish collection is a growing trend in New Zealand and overseas as it’s more environmentally friendly, and safer for providers rubbish collectors.

Sales of bags on the Coast and around the country have been significantly declining over the past few years, and many Councils around the country are phasing out bags.

I use yellow bags – what does this mean for me?

If you use the combined yellow rubbish bag and recycling service, you should get a letter from your provider in March, outlining the changes, what it means for you and key dates you need to be aware of. If you don’t get this letter, or have any questions, please direct them to EnviroWaste on 0800 224 767.

You’ll need to look into the alternative options available and decide which suits you best.

If you’d like to keep your current recycling service that you get with bags, you’ll need to sign up for a new rubbish collection service.

Our website outlines the range of providers you can contact to look into rubbish bin and recycling services. Alternatively, you could dispose of your rubbish and recycling at the Ōtaki or Otaihanga transfer stations, or talk to friends, family or a neighbour about sharing bins.  

Can I get a refund on bags I’ve already bought?

We understand that Envirowaste has committed to refunding people for bags they’ve already purchased. Call them on 0800 224 767 to discuss. They've also let us know that, alternatively, you’ll be able to keep using them for your waste, take them to the transfer station and dispose of them free of charge.

My recycling bin has been taken. Why?

If you're a user of EnviroWaste's combined rubbish bag & recycling service, EnviroWaste will be taking back your recycling bins over the coming weeks as they phase out the service. They started this process on Monday 26 March. Have you decided on an alternative option for your rubbish and recycling? If you’ve signed up for a new service with EnviroWaste, you’ll keep your current bins, and if you’ve signed up with another provider you’ll get new ones. If you’re not sure what to do next, take a look at the alternative options.

Why Council doesn’t deliver the service?  

In 2012-13 after community consultation, Council made the decision to exit from providing kerbside collection services - at that time there were three other contractors also providing the service across the District.

The reason for this change was that alternative providers could provide more cost effective services, at a much lower rate than the Council could match.  The difference in price was because the Council had to cover the costs of providing kerbside recycling to those ratepayers who use the recycling service weekly, but only use the rubbish bag collection service infrequently. There wasn’t enough revenue from declining rubbish bag sales to cover the cost of providing the service. This introduced a full user pays system for rubbish and recycling on the Kāpiti Coast.

Licensed rubbish collectors in the District could continue to provide a rubbish bag service if they wanted to, and EnviroWaste has been selling and collecting bags since then.

Council doesn't have contracts with any of the providers, and has limited control over what services these providers choose to deliver. To get a licence, a provider needs to meet the conditions of the Solid Waste bylaw.

Under the current system, instead of every household having to pay a set portion of rates for a set of rubbish and recycling service, each household can choose the service they would like to use, based on what providers are offering.

How much would it cost for Council to get back into offering the service?

Some people have voiced their concern and asked Council to look into what it would cost to get back in. In March 2018, we did some analysis and released this information to our community.  

I think Council should offer the service. What can I do?

The long term plan is the process for the community to have their say on the big issues that affect our community. If you feel strongly that Council should offer the service, please share your thoughts via the Long Term Plan (LTP) process which is about to ramp up – follow our Facebook page and keep an eye on our website for more information.

If, following detailed analysis, Council decides to go down this path in the future, then it will be reflected in rates to cover costs.

Why can't there just be one truck doing it all?

Before Council exited from rubbish bag collection in 2013, there were four providers offering services. There are still four providers offering those services across the District.

The Council can't stop commercial operators from offering residents rubbish and recycling collection services. This is a function of a free economy where people have a choice - even if there was a  fully rates funded option available, there would need to be a change in Government legislation to allow Council to prevent any form of competition. The Council doesn’t control the waste industry and would be in breach of the commerce act if we tried to - the market in Kāpiti is open to competition, like it is in other towns and cities across New Zealand. Council offering a tender and contracting with one contractor won’t resolve the issues regarding rubbish bag collections and people would end up paying significantly more for Council to administer a contract - and there would still be alternative suppliers.

How can I minimise waste?

We currently have one of the highest rates of recycling across the region. This is great and we’re keen to see this trend continue. So if you’re unsure about how to manage your waste or recycling, talk to your friends and family about what option’s best for you, or call our Waste Minimisation Officer via 0800 486 486.

Results from our recent household waste survey show that food products account for one third of the Kāpiti Coast’s waste, so if possible, this is a great opportunity to start using a personal or neighbourhood compost bin for food waste. For more information, check our green gardener service.

Related links

Media advisory: Friday 8 March 2018 Changes coming for yellow rubbish bag users

Media advisory: Friday 23 March 2018 Costs estimated for Council-led rubbish and recycling disposal service

Last updated 21 May 2018 11.04am