The Napier City & Hastings District Councils have put out a discussion document for public feedback on Waste Futures. They claim this is a $50 million dollar question. Good on them for starting this discussion.
It is unfortunate that the discussion document has been framed on an either or basis. Essentially we are asked is “the cost of the project OR reducing the impact on our environment” the most important thing to us. It then goes on to suggest four different waste disposal techniques.
This is all well and good. However I would have considered the most important discussion to be around how do we reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill in the first place? Whilst staff are exploring “improving our recycling and composting rate” no mention is made of how this is to be done and if it is going to be costed. We may well find it cheaper than building mega landfill.
To my mind this is an oversight that needs to be corrected. For example single use plastic bags are in the media currently given that Local Government New Zealand asked for their use to be banned. Good on LGNZ. This has proved possible in other jurisdictions, why not Hawke’s Bay?
My family are dedicated recyclers and composters. During last years waste free week I investigated what was in my family’s rubbish bag for that week. It consisted almost entirely of packaging. The plastic wrap that seemingly goes around everything sold in the supermarkets. Yoghurt pottles and non recyclable containers. Things we are all familiar with. What are the councils doing to reduce this waste community wide?
And what about white-ware, brown-ware, small batteries, and technology? How do we dispose of these without cost to the consumer? What about the polystyrene packaging that these items come in? What is being done to reduce these waste streams? I could go on of course.
So I believe this is more than just a cost v environment question trade off and if we want to have genuine consultation around this $50 million dollar question then let’s do so. Presenting only half the story does us, or children, and our grandchildren no favours. It’s not to late for the councils to rethink this. Can you please do so.