Cut your waste

Photo showing an event-stall about reducing waste.

Whangārei District residents sent an average of 560kg of waste to landfill in 2019. 

The following information should help to reduce this and cut down your household waste. 

Love Food Hate Waste

Food waste is one of our top priorities because every year, each Kiwi household is wasting 3-full shopping trolleys worth of eatable food. 

We are proud to be part of the national Love Food Hate Waste NZ campaign which aims to turn this around, by inspiring and enabling people to waste less food. Together we can make a difference! 

The Love Food Hate Waste website is a great resource for all New Zealanders to use, with recipes, tools, tips, techniques, events, news and much more. You can also sign up to the newsletter and join the Facebook page.

Love Food Hate Waste Website (lovefoodhatewaste.co.nz)

Choose to refuse

If we want to reduce rubbish, the best way is to prevent waste. This includes minimising unnecessary single-use items and reducing the number of items you buy.

The Rubbish Trip have produced a super Zero Waste Shopping guide for the Whangārei District that provides some useful options for zero waste shopping.

The Rubbish Trip - Zero waste shopping guide (therubbishtrip.co.nz)

Top tips to cut waste

  • Wherever possible, try to avoid single-use packaging.
  • Take along your own drink bottles, containers, reusable bags and cups. Carrying your own cup might get you discounts on coffee from some cafes, and you can refill a water bottle for free.

Refill NZ website (refillnz.org.nz)

  • Try DIY in terms of recipes, making cleaning products, grocery items and beauty products. Find more resources here:

The Rubbish Trip (therubbishtrip.co.nz)

  • Put 'No Junk Mail' sticker on your letterbox. Use this link to opt out of Yellow Pages, and go for an electronic version:

Opt Out of Yellow Pages (ypgbooks.co.nz)

  • Refusing plastic straws and using BYO reusable will also help cut down waste.
  • Don't take freebies from conferences, events and parties that you are not likely to use.

Compost

For those with green thumbs, why not save your greenwaste and make compost? The key to top-notch compost is to keep the micro-organisms that process the waste healthy.  They need food, air, moisture and warmth – just like us!

Getting started

Your compost can be in a freestanding pile or kept in a bin or container. You could make the container yourself or buy a ready-made compost bin at your local hardware or gardening store.

What to put into your compost?

  • kitchen scraps, vegetable peelings, tea bags and leaves, coffee grounds, grass clippings, hair, fur, sheep or horse manure, sea weed. (Nitrogen rich materials)
  • paper, sawdust, straw, leaves, cereal boxes, cardboard, napkins, paper towels, tree clippings, vacuum cleaner dust, egg shells, wood ash. (Carbon rich materials)
  • air and water.

What not to put into your compost?

  • meat
  • grease
  • dairy products
  • large bones
  • food packaging
  • plastics
  • wood
  • pest plants
  • cat and dog faeces.

Tips and tricks

  • Make sure your compost bin is in a sheltered area with good drainage and a small amount of sun.
  • Encourage worms into the compost by breaking up the soil where the bin will be placed – this will also help with drainage.
  • Start with a layer of course materials, such as branches or twigs to help drainage and air flow.
  • Turn (or mix up) the compost every 4-6 weeks.
  • Cover with soil or some plastic sheeting to retain the warmth and moisture.

ShareWaste connects people to recycle their organic waste, make more soil and grow produce. We bring together hosts (who receive organic waste) with donors (who donate their organic waste) to process kitchen scraps into new soil.

ShareWaste website (sharewaste.org.nz)

Waste Management and Minimisation Plan

The Waste Management and Minimisation Plan describes how we currently manage our waste, how Council believes we should be managing our waste in the future.

We adopted the Waste Minimisation and Management Plan in September 2017. It's vision is: To deliver community benefits and work towards zero waste to landfill.

Whangārei businesses and households will be provided with efficient and effective waste minimisation and management services that recognise waste as a resource.

Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2017(PDF, 766KB)

Solid Waste Management Bylaw

The Solid Waste Management Bylaw covers collection, disposal and recycling of household and commercial refuse in the interests of public health. 

Solid Waste Management Bylaw(PDF, 277KB)

How recycled waste is used?

All the recycled waste collected is reused.

  • Cardboard is sent to a mill in South Waikato for processing.
  • Paper goes to an Auckland mill to become newsprint etc.
  • Glass is recycled in an Auckland plant which converts the old glass into new bottles.
  • Tin cans and all plastics go to Auckland, where they are separated before being sent on for recycling.

Thinking twice before you buy

The surest way to keep rubbish out of the landfill is not to buy things that will end up there.

By rethinking our buying habits we can avoid worrying about what to do with rubbish, have less impact on the environment, and keep rates down by spending less on the landfill.

By not buying products with excess packaging or in packaging for which there is no recycling market, we also send manufacturers and retailers the message that we want less packaging.

Every step to reduce waste production helps, so consider the following challenges:

  • Buy loose fruit and vegetables and paper wrapped bread
  • If you do have to buy a product in plastic, choose one that we can be sure is recycled - a bottle stamped 1 or 2
  • Take reusable bags with you when shopping
  • Choose products with less packaging or recyclable packaging
  • Buy yourself a couple of reusable coffee cups and water bottles for carrying in the car or on the bike
  • Consider using cloth nappies for baby whenever possible

One of the more recent issues is the number of products that are not marked as recyclable, biodegradable or compostable.

Typical examples are ‘compostable or biodegradable’ coffee cups and ‘compostable or biodegradable’ disposable nappies.

Our waste in the landfill is closely compacted, which does not allow oxygen to get to the rubbish. This means that the conditions are not right for composting – anything that goes into a landfill is not composted.

For similar reasons, these products should not be added to home compost piles – the conditions are not suitable for composting things like nappies or plastic coffee cup lids.

You can see further information about the options for composting or recycling of common plastics from the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, by following the link below.

Options for composting or recycling common plastics (pce.parliament.nz)

In Whangārei, we collect only plastics marked 1 and 2.

We need to sort the plastics that we can recycle from those we can’t.

Plastics type 1 and 2, if clean, remain a valuable commodity for recycling. There is no market for smelly, dirty plastic. We need to keep it clean! Including plastics that cannot be recycled increases the cost of collecting and processing recycling.

For more on our kerbside recycling service, including what you can and can’t put out, take a look at the kerbside collection section of our website.

Weekly rubbish and recycling collection