Frequently Asked Questions - Rubbish and Recycling
What kerbside services do we receive?
Our new 10-year solid waste contract with Waste Management NZ Ltd began on 1 September 2023. The services they provide include residential kerbside collections and Refuse Transfer and Recycling Station (RTS) operations. Key services include:
- Food waste collected weekly in a 25-litre bin, with new bins supplied — new service
- Domestic rubbish collected fortnightly in a 140-litre wheelie bin, with new bins supplied — new service, replacement for blue bags collection
- Glass collected fortnightly with a limit of two Council crates per household
- Mixed recycling (paper, cardboard, tins and hard plastics 1,2 & 5) collected fortnightly in a 240-litre wheelie bin
- There will be additional rubbish and recycling residential kerbside collections in the peak summer period provided in some areas.
Do we use a rubbish bin instead of blue bags?
Yes, we’re no longer using official, pre-paid blue plastic rubbish bags for kerbside collections. Instead, we’re using 140-litre wheelie bins, just like the ones we use for recycling except a bit smaller. They have space for two-and-a-third times the volume of rubbish as the old blue bag.
What is the rubbish wheelie bin service?
The rubbish collection service is paid for through Pay As You Throw (PAYT) tags that you can purchase from participating retailers. View the list of retailers here. The tags cost $8 for 2023/2024 and can also be bought from our Council offices in Thames, Whangamatā, Whitianga and Coromandel Town.
You attach the tag to the wheelie bin each time you put out a bin full of rubbish. Although the collection frequency for the rubbish bin is fortnightly, if you think that you may only use your rubbish bin every couple of months due to the new food scraps service, that’s great – that means you are diverting waste from landfill which is what our district is trying to achieve. Since rubbish collections are paid for through the PAYT system, and not through your property rates, you are not paying for the service if you don’t use it.
Will the blue pre-paid bags be collected kerbside after 1 September 2023?
No, but we will continue to accept Council’s official blue bags at our seven Refuse and Recycling Transfer Stations free of charge until stocks run out.
I don’t currently receive a kerbside collection service, but I do purchase pre-paid Council bags and put them kerbside on roads or highways the truck collects from. What now?
One option is to purchase standard 60-litre rubbish bags (any brand) at a retailer (supermarket or dairy etc.). When they're full take the bag to one of our seven Refuse and Recycling Transfer stations (RTS) for disposal. The charge for disposal of 60-litre non-Council unofficial rubbish bags can be found here. Alternatively, you could speak to a private waste collection company.
Will the rubbish, recycling and crates all be collected in the same week?
No. We have an alternate week system – which we’re calling red and yellow weeks. One week it’s be a red week when you have your rubbish bin and your food scraps collected. The following week it’s a yellow week where you have your mixed recycling bin (paper, cardboard, tins and hard plastic), crate of glass and food scraps bin collected. Note that the food scraps bin gets collected weekly.
Has my bins service day changed?
From September 2023 some service days have changed. The collection service now operates across a five-day working week so some customers have a new day for their kerbside collections. Click here to find out the timetable.
What can I put in my food scraps bin?
The food scraps bin can accept items like:
- fruit and vegetables
- cooked food (like rice and pasta)
- meat and fish
- coffee grounds and egg shells
Download a copy of the information leaflet here.(PDF, 2MB)
What if I compost at home?
That's great! Thanks for doing your part to combat food waste. Even if you already have your own system in place, the new food scraps system provides a benefit to the whole community and the environment by significantly reducing the amount of overall waste going to landfill. Composting at home is also a great option – people can still use their food scraps for things that cannot be added to their compost or worm farm, such as meat, small bones, onion skins and dairy products.
Why do we need a food scraps bin?
When we audited some kerbside Council rubbish bags in 2021 we found that organic matter comprised just over 60 per cent of the weight going to landfill. Kitchen food waste made up 86 per cent of that organic material.
When food scraps break down in landfill they give off greenhouse gases such as methane, which are not good for the environment. Getting food scraps out of landfill and collected to make compost gets the goodness back into the soil, where it belongs.
Food waste kerbside collection services have been introduced, or are about to be, by many Councils across New Zealand, including Hamilton City, Tauranga City, Western Bay of Plenty District, Auckland City, Hauraki District, Matamata Piako District and others.
What happens to my recycling collected at kerbside (recycling, glass and food scraps)?
Your food waste will go to Tirohia Energy Park, just outside Paeroa, where it will be processed for composting.
Your glass and recycling will also be taken to Tirohia Energy Park for processing. This site should be constructed and fully operational by 2024. In the interim, Waste Management will take the recycling to another nearby facility.
You can view the final destinations for most of the recycling that Waste Management collects here.
Will I be getting a kerbside bin for green waste as well?
No. Green waste needs to be taken to one of our Refuse and Recycling Transfer Stations.
When will I receive my new bins?
Rubbish wheelie bins and food scraps bins should be with customers by September 2023. Catch-up deliveries of missed bins were taking place in September and October. If you haven't received your new bins, make sure you contact our Customer Services Team.
Why are there so many bins – where will I put them?
Replacing the blue pre-paid plastic bags with a wheelie bin reduces reliance on plastic. The lidded rubbish bins mean no more bags being torn open by animals or birds. They’re also much safer for our contractors to empty, as the truck uses an automated arm to pick them up rather than workers having to manually handle bags.
The food scraps bin will reduce waste going to landfill. Getting food scraps out of landfill and collected to make compost is a much better use of the resource and gets the goodness back into the soil, where it belongs.
It’s a win-win for the environment and the collection team.
Where there is limited space on the kerbside, you can place your food scraps bin or glass crate directly in front of your wheelie bin. Allow approximately 30cm between the bins so the automated arm from the truck has room to pick up the individual bins.
How will ratepayers/ residents pay for the waste services?
Solid Waste services are paid for in a number of ways:
- A targeted rate for customers that receive a kerbside rubbish and recycling collection. That rate was set in June 2023 when our Council adopted the annual plan for 2023/2024 after public consultation in March/April 2023. Take a look at page 47 of the annual plan document here.
- $8 Pay As You Throw (PAYT) tags that customers need to buy and attach each time they put out their rubbish wheelie bins kerbside to be emptied. Having a pre-paid PAYT tag system for rubbish bins means each household is only paying for the rubbish they generate. The tags are available to purchase at Council offices and participating local retailers.
- Gate fees and charges at the Refuse and Recycling Transfer Station (RTS) sites.
- External funding, such as returning a percentage of the Waste Levy paid across the district.
How can I keep costs down?
With the $8 Pay As You Throw (PAYT) tag system, you only need to use a tag when you put your rubbish wheelie bin out for collection. The amount of rubbish that you generate will be reduced by appropriate use of your new food scraps bin, mixed recycling wheelie bin and glass recycling crate. We also have collection bins around the district for soft plastics.
You may not need to put your rubbish wheelie bin out every fortnight if you take advantage of all the recycling options available.
Please note that the Pay As You Throw tags do not have an expiry date - so you don't need to worry about them becoming out of date.
Of course, we’ll need to monitor what goes into the food scraps bin, mixed recycling wheelie bin and glass crate to make sure that only items that should go in them are put there. We’ve also designed our Pay As You Throw tags with anti-copying watermarks to prevent fraudulent copying. Falsifying a bin tag could result in enforcement action.
The goal is to reduce unnecessary items going to landfill by reusing, repurposing, recycling and regenerating the earth’s precious resources.
Will there be any changes to the Refuse and Recycling Transfer Stations operations?
All sites will be open to standard hours seven days a week including most public holidays.
- During daylight saving (from the last Sunday in September to the first Saturday in April):
Monday to Sunday 8.30am – 5.30pm
- Outside of daylight saving:
Monday to Sunday 8.30am – 4.30pm.
- They’ll be closed on Christmas Day, New Year's Day, Good Friday and until 1pm Anzac Day.
Will there still be after-hours facilities at the Refuse and Recycling Transfer Station sites and mobile compactors for refuse located around the district?
Yes, the current after-hours facilities and mobile compactors will also be managed by Waste Management as part of the new solid waste contract.
I need support to take my bins kerbside – what should I do?
Please contact our Customer Services team to discuss your support needs. Phone 07 868 0200 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What happens if I am not at my property to take my bins to the kerbside or back in again?
Please ask your neighbours, family or friends if they are able to help.
I still have questions, who can I contact
If you still have questions, please contact our customer services team on 07 868 0200 or email email@example.com.
Please note: The information in the FAQs has been provided to the best knowledge of our Council at the time these FAQs were revised in September 2023.