Kerbside food waste collection– it’s a yes

Waikato District Council’s food waste consultation once again looks likely to draw a majority of ‘Nos’ from those in the community who don’t want to pay for a service to divert food waste from landfill.

The online and paper version of the survey asks only one question and it’s one that will have many weighing up the benefits of the service against the annual cost of $72.90 or $1.40 a week.

Already, the keyboard warriors are hitting the Raglan Notice Board with posts about the awesome home composting they do and not wanting to contribute towards others use of the kerbside compost collection Xtreme Zero Waste first piloted five years ago. 

Nobody wants to pay more for their rates, including me, but for many home composting isn’t a viable option – for a variety of reasons – and not because they are lazy as some allude to.

Just like my rates pay for the library I don’t use, the Manu Bay shower and have never rinsed the sea water off there, the playgrounds and don’t play on them, the water at the boat ramp I don’t use, and the many other council facilities I probably don’t benefit from; I’m also happy to pay for the convenience of kerbside compost collection.

I love that our local children can play on some amazing playgrounds and our local library has a great collection of books, and fishos get to wash their boats after a day’s fishing, and surfers can take a shower at Manu Bay after hitting the left-hand break.

These things come at a cost, they might feel free but ratepayers are paying for them and how cool is it that we have these services available to us and to the many visitors who come to Raglan.

Council doesn’t get it right all the time. They certainly did a rubbish job of the first food waste collection consultation which has led us here again paying to have our say through a consultation process that the council can ignore anyway.

And remember it’s a consultation not a democratic vote for the general public; the councillors weigh up the feedback and then they vote on whether to keep it or not; a majority of ‘Nos’ doesn’t mean we will lose the service.

I, for one, am hoping the councillors will see the bigger picture and, election year or not, realise that this service is too important not to keep.

Most likely they will have to reintroduce the service anyway; the Government is already seeking public feedback for the ‘Transforming Recycling’ proposal that looks to standardise kerbside recycling across the country, including food waste.

Green MP Eugenie Sage welcomed the proposals saying, “These are exciting initiatives. We are changing the way we view waste. That benefits nature with less litter, more materials being re-used, and less climate pollution from landfill.”

If you believe climate change is a thing (I certainly believe the science), why wouldn’t we want to reduce the impact that our excesses are having on the planet.

Since the food waste collection came in my need to put out landfill bags has reduced massively, sometimes down to one blue bag every three weeks.

It might seem such a minor environmental impact for good but it feels great to know that I’ve played a small part in reducing waste.

I love that Xtreme Zero Waste is pushing the boundaries when it comes to waste minimisation and I hope, regardless of how many ‘Nos’ come back from the consultation, that our council is brave enough to say yes.

The consultation closes on 1 April. The community is encouraged to get involved by going to Shape Waikato to provide feedback at https://shape.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/raglan-food-waste-2022  

by Janine Jackson