Big improvements in the ways Wellingtonians create and dispose of waste – everything from junk mail and household rubbish to concrete, steel and other materials from demolition sites – are afoot following a unanimous vote at yesterday’s monthly meeting of Wellington City Council.
Mayor Andy Foster and Councillors voted unanimously to bring into force the Solid Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw, which contains rules and controls to help promote waste minimisation and better manage waste.
Key proposed bylaw changes include:new controls to manage waste and kerbside collection;restricting unaddressed and advertising mail;a new suite of standards that will affect waste and recycling collectorsthe establishment of waste operator licensing (applicable to waste collectors who transport more than 20 tonnes of waste per year);new event waste management planning standards for large outdoor events (over 1000 people), and indoor events (over 5000 people).standards to better manage littering and the inappropriate deposit/discarding of waste;the establishment of new construction and demolition waste planning requirements for high-value building projects (valued at $2 million or more); andstandards to ensure new multi-unit dwellings, with 10 or more residential units, provide suitable storage areas for waste and recycling generated on-site.
The vote follows a two-year review of issues and rules relating to waste management around the city and region.
Mayor Foster praised the community for its input into the new bylaw which, he says, is “all about kaitiakitanga – looking after our city, region and planet.”
The Council’s Waste Free Wellington portfolio lead, Councillor Laurie Foon, who was for years involved in Wellington’s fashion industry, says her experience of waste in the industry – especially the landfilling of everything from fabrics to packaging – has strongly influenced her desire to be involved with the portfolio in general and the bylaw in particular.
“We have to do better as a community to cut back the amount of stuff we’re chucking away – we can’t go on building new landfills.
These new rules will help us all to reduce the amount of waste we generate and then create a ‘circular economy’ – one where materials can be recovered and reused – rather than thrown into a gully and covered with dirt.
Cr Foon says under the new bylaw, large scale construction and demolition projects will have to provide a waste minimisation plan to get approval from the City Council. “This will encourage developers and construction companies to think about recycling or reusing demolition materials. “The reuse of concrete, especially, will lessen pressure on our landfills as well as our quarries.”
Cr Foon, who chairs the Wellington Region Waste Management and Minimisation Plan Joint Committee, says in 2017, the region’s councils committed to working together to develop a set of bylaw provisions that had the potential to be regionally consistent.
“And our new bylaw is one of a range of initiatives that the Council will take along with initiatives required of Central Government if we are to reduce waste volumes sustainably and make our city cleaner.
“Within Wellington city, the population is expected to grow by 50,000 to 80,000 over the next 30 years, so we know we need change that enables us to better manage and reduce our waste in preparation for that.”