Managing waste within our district is an important Council responsibility. In recent years there have been a number of developments at the national level and within the industry that mean we need to think more carefully than ever about how we manage our waste and resources. National legislation, including the Waste Minimisation Act and the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme mean that the cost of landfilling our waste is likely to increase in the future. In addition, the waste industry is increasingly able to offer new and better ways of reclaiming our wasted resources, meaning we have more options as to how we manage our waste. While we have been recycling and recovering more and more of our waste, there is more we can still do, and it will be important to make sure we do this in ways that are efficient and that benefit our communities as well as the environment. Each Council is required under the Waste Minimisation Act to produce a Waste Management and Minimisation Plan, which shows how they plan to manage their waste. The Act also allows Councils to join together in waste planning. The three East Waikato Councils, Hauraki, Matamata-Piako and Thames-Coromandel, believe there are real benefits in working together and so have produced this Joint Waste Management and Minimisation Plan. This Plan describes how we currently manage our waste in each of the three districts, how the Councils suggest our communities should manage our waste in the future, and what we can all do to make this happen. The plan was put together in 2011 with the input of the Eastern Waikato community and adopted by the three councils in early 2012. We listened to the views of residents and ratepayers as well as waste professionals on how best to manage our waste and came up with a way forward in which everyone has a meaningful role. In 2017 the plan was reviewed with public input and the revised plan was adopted by the three councils in late June 2017. Our Waste Management and Minimisation Plan (WMMP) covers all solid waste and diverted material (anything that is no longer required for its original purpose but still has value through reuse or recycling is "diverted material".) in the three districts, whether they are managed by council or not. This includes hazardous wastes such as chemicals and the outputs from wastewater treatment plants. This does not necessarily mean that the councils are going to have direct involvement in the management of all waste - but there is a responsibility for the councils to at least consider all waste in their districts, and to suggest areas where other groups, such as businesses or householders, could take action themselves. Our WMMP sets the priorities and strategic framework for managing waste, with the actions set out in the Plan carried forward into the three councils' long term and annual plans to ensure the resourcing is available to deliver the plan's goals and objectives. The plan's vision is to: “Minimise waste to landfill and maximise community benefit” Goals include actively promoting waste reduction, working together to optimise opportunities, and managing waste services in the most cost-effective manner. Targets include reducing the average amount of waste each person in the three districts sends to landfill from 499kg to 276kg by 2022.