Rubbish collection bill shocks

Rubbish bill . . . Retired couple Karen and Dennis Lobb inspect their annual bill for the collection of an 80-litre wheelie bin from their Dunedin home. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

A Dunedin woman is calling for action after the cost of having her rubbish collected nearly doubled.

Karen Lobb, of Concord, said she was surprised to open her annual bill from Waste Management for continuing to collect her 80-litre wheelie bin from outside her home each week.

The bill had nearly doubled – rising from $104 last year to $196 this year.

A note on the bottom of the bill – which is due to be paid on Saturday – says the increase “reflects current operating costs and continuing investment into our waste collection network”.

Mrs Lobb said after being reassured by Waste Management the bill was correct, she began exploring whether cheaper alternatives were available.

The search revealed prices among competitors were similar, including using Dunedin City Council’s black bags or visiting one of its landfills.

She wants the council to follow the lead of Christchurch City Council and offer a weekly service combining the collection of rubbish and kerbside recycling service.

Christchurch residents pay $146 in their rates for the 2018-19 year to get a 140-litre bin of rubbish, an 80-litre bin for organic material, and a 240-litre bin for recycling, collected weekly.

If Christchurch residents want the three bins to be of an 80-litre size, the cost remains the same.

Mrs Lobb said as the DCC charged her $66.30 on her rates annually for kerbside recycling, and Waste Management charged her $196 for rubbish collection, she was paying $262.30 a year – nearly 80% more than a Christchurch resident.

“That’s a huge difference.”

She wanted the DCC to strike a deal with Waste Management to get Dunedin residents a cheaper all-inclusive deal.

A cheaper solution was needed because people regularly dumped bags of rubbish on the roadside in Dunedin.

“People will get rid of their bins and we’ll find that happening more and more.”

Waste Management South Island general manager Gareth James said Waste Management’s operating cost increases over the past two years included a 40% increase in waste disposal costs since the closure of Waste Management’s landfill in Fairfield, which had a lower cost of disposal than the Green Island landfill, where all of Dunedin’s waste was now disposed.

Fuel costs had also increased more than 30% and there were ongoing increases in the cost of purchasing emission units as part of the New Zealand government’s emission trading scheme.

Other costs included investment in new trucks and bins, truck maintenance and staff wages.

“The largest component of the cost is disposal charges.”

DCC waste and environmental solutions group manager Chris Henderson said council staff were working to deliver a proposed draft waste minimisation and management plan 2019 before the end of this year.

The draft plan would include options for the city’s future landfill and kerbside collection services. Residents would be asked for their views as part of this process before any decisions were made.

rubbish was a concern but the council was not aware of an increase in the activity recently.

The council introduced a litter compliance policy last year to enable staff to fine offenders and recover the costs of cleaning up the illegally dumped litter.