Summary Plan - Draft Waste Management and Minimisation Plan

The following web page is a summary of the main Draft Waste Management and Minimisation Plan (WMMP), please download the complete plan here


By law, every Council has to produce a plan to say how they are going to manage their waste. The official term for the plan is a Waste Management and Minimisation Plan (WMMP). The three Eastern Waikato Councils - Hauraki, Matamata-Piako and Thames-Coromandel, believe there are likely to be some real benefits in working together. 

After a lot of background work, including preparing a Waste Assessment and discussion with key stakeholders in the Eastern Waikato communities, we have produced a Draft Joint Waste Management and Minimisation Plan - and we now want to hear what you think. 

The information below provides a summary of the Draft WMMP.

Why we need to plan for waste

The three districts together send approximately 37,500 tonnes of rubbish to landfill each year, while we recycle and compost about half as much – nearly 17,000 tonnes. 

The waste and recycling is managed in different ways – some comes from households and some from businesses.  Some is picked up as part of Council or private collections, other waste is taken to transfer stations or direct to landfill. 

What is in our waste that we throw away?

The largest components of the rubbish are organic waste (food and garden waste), paper (including cardboard), timber, plastics, and rubble.

These are all types of waste where most of what we are throwing away could be recovered for recycling or composting.  It is clear that, while we are already doing a lot of recycling, we could be doing more.

If we can find ways to get this recycling and compostable material out of the rubbish, then we can save costs on the amount we send to landfill and reduce our environmental impact by recycling or composting these materials instead. 

We also need to manage our waste in ways that are cost effective and that protect the health of our communities.

Key issues based on the work we have undertaken, including the Waste Assessment, the Councils believe that the key issues for the districts are:

  • Landfill disposal costs will rise
  • Recycling is still being thrown in to rubbish bins even with a recycling collection available
  • We need to be aware of markets for recycled materials and how this may affect the affordability of recycling services
  • A large proportion of waste going to landfill is organic waste – this is a particular problem due to the negative environmental impacts
  • A need for more/improved facilities for managing waste within the region
  • Varying demand through the region – summer visitors, rural customers, businesses
  • A lack of data on waste flows and composition in the districts – particularly for waste and recovered materials managed by the private sector
  • There are opportunities to target materials for recovery and reuse, including electronic waste, construction and demolition waste, and re-usable items, like furniture

Our proposals to manage our waste


Our proposed vision for how we manage waste in our districts is simply to: 

“Minimise waste to landfill and maximise community benefit”

We believe this vision is clear, simple to understand and represents what we want to try to achieve.

The vision will be achieved by working towards a number of proposed goals and objectives.  These are as follows:

Goals and objectives

Goal: To actively promote waste reduction
Objective: To work at a national level with other organisations, including territorial and regional councils, to actively promote waste reduction
Objective: To work with local businesses and organisations to actively promote waste reduction at a local level

Goal: Work together to optimise opportunities
Objective: To investigate and develop joint working and co-operation across territorial authorities and regional councils, including shared services
Objective: To investigate and develop private and community sector partnerships and arrangements which contribute positively to the WMMP’s vision and goals

Goal: To manage waste services in the most cost-effective manner
Objective: To work with service providers to identify efficiencies while maintaining or improving service levels
Objective: To consider both short and long term cost impacts of all actions

Goal: To increase economic benefit by using materials more efficiently
Objective: To identify opportunities to reduce waste generation and recover materials from the waste stream
Objective: To look for opportunities to recover the value of waste materials locally

Goal: To minimise harm to the environment
Objective: Consider the environmental impact of all options and ensure that the overall environmental impact is taken into account in decision-making

Goal: To protect public health
Objective: To consider the public health impacts of all waste management options and seek to choose options which effectively protect human health

Goal: To collect information to enable informed decision-making
Objective: To take actions that will improve information on waste and recovered material activities in the districts, including both Council-contracted and private sector activities
Objective: To align data collection and reporting systems across the three districts

Waste minimisation targets

"To reduce waste from 499kg per person per annum, to 268kg over the next ten years"

We have set some provisional waste minimisation targets for how much we want to reduce waste (these might change depending on the actions we take).

At present we produce about half a tonne per person per year of waste that is sent to landfill (499kg). 

We think that by taking a variety of actions we can reduce that to nearly half (268kg) over the next ten years.

Some of the most important initiatives and how much they could reduce our waste are as follows:

Key actions

  1. Improve our kerbside recycling.  By giving households bigger bins (or extra bins), and possibly accepting a wider range of materials we can make it easier to recycle more.  We think this could result in recycling an extra 38 kg per person per year
  2. Collect food waste from households.  About a third (by weight) of what we put in our rubbish bags is kitchen scraps.  We can collect this and turn it into useful compost.  Kitchen food waste collections are already being trialled successfully in nearby Putararu and we could run a similar system in East Waikato.  This would avoid us sending about 50 kg per person to landfill each year.
  3. Garden Waste.  Garden waste also makes good compost. By offering people a user-pays garden waste collection and better separating material at transfer stations we think we could take about another 25 kg per person out of landfill.
  4. Construction and Demolition Waste.  This is mainly wood, bricks, concrete and plasterboard. These can all be usefully recovered, and taking them out of the waste stream could reduce our waste by about 45 kg per person.
  5. Commercial recycling.  Most households do a good job of recycling, but businesses don’t always have access to the same services to recycle.  By working to offer better recycling services to businesses we think we could recycle another 25 kg per person per year.
  6. Re-use.  There are a lot of things like furniture, whiteware, bikes, garden equipment etc that get thrown out but are still good to use.  Where they operate, re-use stores are very popular as they provide some great bargains, and are a good way to pass on items that are no longer wanted.  We think we could avoid sending about 18 kg of waste to landfill per person through having more re-use centres.

There are other actions we propose to take as well, including ones that support those listed above - like education, bylaws, data gathering and monitoring.  See the draft WMMP for more details.

 What will it cost?

Our plan is that, through efficiencies and changing how we do things, we will be able to recycle and recover more without needing to increase overall rates requirements. 

For example, garden waste collections and commercial recycling services would be user-pays and so would pay for themselves.  Similarly the income from the re-use stores should mean they can pay for themselves.  As well as this, the income from selling recyclable material helps offset much of the cost of separately collecting and sorting it.  We will also look at our fees and charges for transfer stations and kerbside services to make sure these reflect true costs and encourage waste minimisation.

In addition, we will save money on landfill fees by reducing our waste, which will help offset some of the costs.  This will make a bigger and bigger difference over time as landfill rates increase.

Finally, we may use money we receive from the government’s landfill levy to help pay for some initiatives.

How will working together work?

We think the three Councils working together will help us save money and deliver better services and more waste minimisation.  It will do this through:

  1. Potential efficiencies and cost savings from sharing collection services, including improved ability to optimise fleets, depot locations and collection rounds
  2. Potential efficiencies and cost savings from sharing administration, communications and support services
  3. Encouraging more competitive bids from the private sector contractors for supply of collection, transfer station operation, haulage and disposal services across the three districts
  4. More consistent standards and service levels across the districts.

Everyone’s roles

We all have a role to play in helping waste management and minimisation work for the benefit of our community.

Council will take a lead in making sure the objectives of our Plan are delivered.  This includes specifying and contracting out the delivery of key services like kerbside collections, transfer station operations, and drop-off facilities.

Households and business can make a big difference by supporting the waste minimisation services provided, making efforts to reduce waste, and giving feedback.

Private sector operators will help us achieve our vision by supplying high quality, efficient services, and working to support local and regional goals.

Community groups can also have a big role to play through supplying services like re-use centres, education and awareness, and working with council and private sector to find new and better ways of doing things.

Have your say - Make a submission now

We encourage you to make a submission on the draft WMMP. Submissions will close on 21 November 2011 at 5pm. 

For more information please download the full draft WMMP or attend an open day.