Dunedin’s kerbside waste collections

On… plastic boxes get too much.

First we heard:

### ODT Online Wed, 2 Dec 2009
Rubbish costs set to double
By David Loughrey
Dunedin residents will have two recycling bins if the latest city council “preferred option” is adopted.
Read more

Council responses to the question posed by ODT – ‘why the cost had increased so much with no extra service and better sorted waste’ – suggest the Council is over exposed to prices contractors might set through the tender process. The conditions attached to the successful tender bid had better be positively demanding!

Then, momentously, the bad news got closer:

### ODT Online Sat, 5 Dec 2009
Two-crate recycling adopted
By Hamish McNeilly
A recycling crate with a lid has been adopted by the Dunedin City Council, but how much it will cost and even its final colour have yet to be determined.
Read more


From the sublime to the ridiculous.
I’m not sure if that’s a description of DCC or myself.

I protest. I won’t have another recycling bin on my property and if served one, it will be trashed. In preference I’ll continue with the black bags and blue bin (for glass) only – and not recycle most of my household waste, which is not great.

I submitted to Council that while in favour of recycling my apartment can’t take another bin, and certainly not a wheelie bin. Well, they seem to have got the second point.

The two-bin system (about to be adopted by Council) altogether constitutes another piece of furniture my apartment can’t take. Further, they are unsightly, made of plastic and something to trip over. External storage of bins on a tight property of six apartments is not possible. I suggested to Council that the small-home owner or apartment dweller might prefer using the blue bin to recycle different waste products (glass one week; plastics, cardboard, paper and aluminium the next) since the total output of waste is relatively minor each month; besides, people should be able to customise kerbside recycling services according to their need, given there is a wide variance across Dunedin. The design of the yellow bin featured in the ODT doesn’t look to be stackable with the blue bin. What the hell is Council up to? All this and a likely doubling in price of collections.

So I’m abandoning ship. Black bags and (note my generous concession) glass recycling using the existing blue bin is all I’m going to do. The cost of my occasional use of black bags (despite price increases) is neither here nor there if, logically, the preference is my convenience not Council’s. As it should be.

My existing eco-footprint is very very small – the deliberate concessions I’ve made to live inner city are easily more than most residents would ever achieve living in the city suburbs or countryside. Why throw more plastic at me, DCC.
(the stadium is a plastic-coated box too far already)

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Design, Economics, Project management

93 responses to “Dunedin’s kerbside waste collections

  1. we have a ridiculous system already in place in the uk

  2. Richard

    I wouldn’t take what is shown in the ODT pix for granted. The ‘second recycling bin’ being talked about at yesterday’s ISCOM meeting was something quite different. What, we will not know until the tenders come in from the contractors.

    I prefer (and have advocated) a stacker type which is used where my youngest daughter lives. Very effective too.

    So, we wait!

    Understand what you are saying, Elizabeth but council had to find something that was practical, affordable and which met most requirements in our hilly city etc.

    It also had to be one that did not lock us into an expensive capital investment with wheelie bins and a MRF as Christchurch did which cost them $24m just to ‘rescue’ their whole she-bang.

    And I am pleased, of course, that Fliss and I are no longer in the minority.

    My guess, is that things will change in this area again with new technology and systems advancing all the time in regard to the disposal of residuals and recyclables.

    Waste Recovery Centres (on the lines of what Oamaru has) may well have a part to play.

    Council has thus left itself in a flexible position to respond when changes happen.

  3. Phil

    Is there not a case for neighbourhood collection centres? Surely there’s a park, supermarket car park or vacant lot within accessible distance of every home. That has to be a money saver to Council in terms of personal bin supplies and large collection routes. I remember taking a short trip once a week (usually combined with our grocery shopping) to get rid of our glass, tins, light bulbs, plastics, card and paper. Into 6 marked bins. That left us with 2 small supermarket sized bags. One had compostibles, and one had burnable/dumpable. Ok, it was more of a hassle than just dumping out one big bin every week, but then don’t start complaining when your pristine environment is screwed up. It’s all about conscious choices, and maybe a little sacrifice.

    • Elizabeth

      Actually, it was Cr Fliss Butcher that sensibly asked me during the hearing of submissions whether I would support neighbourhood collection centres. Answer, most definitely: YES.
      You’re onto it, Phil.
      Richard, I only hope more flexibility happens sooner than later and not expensively. I’m old-fashioned like that.
      I don’t want to take my last breath in a Dunedin gutter one day, having been mown down by a bus running 15 minutes late (like today in both directions) … surrounded by a sea of durable plastic bins (my last view of Earth, an unsubtle townscape) before I might reach heaven’s paradisal shores.

      • Elizabeth

        Because entrepreneurial behaviour is welcomed in Dunedin, I’m willing to find kind loving homes for every unwanted or stray [yellow/whatever colour] bin. For a fee. The benefits of my service include keeping the bins out of landfills and allowing residents who demand to keep buying junk packaging and “plastic everything” with no let up, as contemporary consumption continues to escalate, the option to put out more waste and more bins. A problem shared is a problem solved. Contact me through this website for more information and my rate card.

  4. Richard

    The new bin might not be yellow!

    The one in the ODT photo, by the way, is as used internally by The Polytechnic. I recall also seeing them in the new F&P Design Centre.

    Yes there is a case for Resource Recovery Centres, Phil. One might be trialled down Port Chalmers way on a local initiative. They are, however, much more ‘complex’ than the old bottlebanks etc or just setting something up in a neighbour park etc, as a visit to the one in Oamaru graphically illustrates. That is worth seeing!

    As for glass bottles and jars – no mixing with light bulbs, please! Nor with cardboard and paper. That is where the ‘contamination starts’ making a very high percentage unsaleable. Just see ‘Mt. Visy’ in Auckland as proof positive of that!

    {I’ve amended my advertisement. Thanks for proof reading, Richard. -EK}

  5. Elizabeth is absolutely right. We need more bins like we need holes in our heads. It will be counterproductive for all the reasons Elizabeth states. It undoes a simple operation: one bin, one bag, paper/cardboard, one day of collection. End of story.
    Now, two bins, alternate days of collection. Is it today for plastics, or glass? No, err.. I think it is glass, but.. on the the hand it might be plastic. I can’t remember. If I put the wrong one out it will be left. I am away for the day. Hope no kids kick it over. Who will pick it up if they do? Bloody sure I won’t. Besides, they are going to increase the cost aren’t they? What on earth is going on? Doesn’t anyone in council think these things through? Why the expense and trouble to separate the glass anyway? There is no market for it. How come the contractors are to charge more for doing less? Didn’t they sort the stuff before? Are the contractors calling the shots here? It seems like it to me. End result, we mugs simply pay more for less.

  6. Allow me to offer a counter argument.

    I LOVE the 3 bin system they have in Christchurch (including the hill suburbs and inner city residents).

    Bin 1 – Recyclables
    Bin 2 – Compostables
    Bin 3 – Anything that doesn’t have another life cycle left in it.

    So shameful is Dunedin’s recycling system at the moment that we save everything that Christchurch takes that we don’t and ship it in the back of our car for the 4-5 trips a year we have there.

    Calvin, if my 75 year old mother-in-law can get her head around the three bin on alternate days and weeks, and this is your biggest grumble (as previously stated in your letter to the ODT), I’m sorry but early onset memory loss (or we shall call it bone idle laziness) is no basis for opposition of a system which is ultimately designed to make life more sustainable.

    “If I put the wrong one out it will be left.”

    Yes I bloody hope so! Currently, if you don’t dispose of your refuse or recycling at the gate in a proper manner it is not collected – what would change?

    “I am away for the day.”

    Are you serious or just a cantankerous bugger? So let me get this right, currently you schedule all of your sojourns out of town around rubbish collection day? Could I then offer a solution to this which seems to trouble you, could we not assume you continue with this regime.

    “Hope no kids kick it over.”

    I see the streets are teeming with unkept youths currently kicking over people’s recycling bins – it’s a major problem. Of course you are suggesting that something as mundane as a large recycling wheelie bin is a red rag to the bull – which in this case is the misspent youth of Dunedin.

    {mind you, here’s hoping while putting out my recycling bins that I don’t get run over by the 68 year old person recently convicted of drink driving – leave the hollow “kids run rampant” argument out of it please – age does not preclude shame and sin.}

    “Who will pick it up if they do? Bloody sure I won’t.” Yeah that’s the sort of civic minded attitude that we need to foster in this city – someone else made the problem, someone else can sort it out. Pathetic hollow arguments from a very narrow minded attitude.

    “Why the expense and trouble to separate the glass anyway? There is no market for it.”

    I do dearly hope you aren’t serious with this statement. Only a couple weeks back on tv news there was an article on (business news?) in which the call for high quality separated locally sourced glass was so high that there was a premium being paid for these things. But it was also getting so difficult to get that the company using said glass was on the brink of shutting down simply because the resource which they know is out there is being wasted every single day of the year.

    How about some real arguments – not this hollow memory loss rubbish.

    We are a family of four with two school aged kids. Yes we did the cloth nappy thing, so you get the idea that we already think about things like carbon footprints, recycling and sustainability. Having said that I’ll qualify it with we are not hessian wearing ferals from organicsville. We are about as middle class as you could get, but adhere to the ideals of sustainability.

    Take for instance your glass argument. My father was a glass blower for 27 years at the old AHI in Christchurch. A huge wack of their glass was locally sourced, with recycled glass a major contributor (and this was in the days of the only glass to be recycled were your milk bottles). I have two very good friends who are glass blowers today. They are screaming out for locally sourced glass. Having worked my school holidays through the glass factory I know from personal experience that there is nothing easier than taking bottles of glass and throwing them in the furnace. No sending to Sth Korea for repackaging only to be sold back to us in another form.

    But then taking the glass problem even further – why the bloody hell don’t we have cash for glass back. So many countries do. In Vancouver we returned our glass to the bottle stores and you could normally walk out with a nice bottle of wine from the money you made. Further to that you could leave it on the street for the homeless pickers to collect and get money for their meagre living.

    But no in NZ we still fill up black rubbish bags (we don’t even know that rubbish means it is at the end of its productive life and can’t be used again) with bottles. Every day at the University (shame on you – don’t get me started on how shameful and pathetic the University is towards recycling, composting and sustainability), I find glass, cardboard and cans all in the skips – when right next door to said skip there are recycling skips. In many cases less than 10 bloody cm apart from each other. Are you that useless, arrogant, ignorant or dumb that the action of throwing material into a skip more than once is a task too great to bear. Don’t start me people – this is an issue which bugs the bejesus out of me.

    But then with the attitudes of Kiwis so ineptly displayed by Calvin there is no wonder that the notion of separating one’s recycling from refuse is so foreign, and when the two bins are less than 10cm apart, there is no wonder there is often hollow and meaningless argument against ideas that will lead to increased levels of sustainability.

    Kiwis attitude to recycling glass, tin, plastics and aluminium is pathetic and as hollow as this crap notion that we are clean and green country. Seriously you should be fined for throwing out recycling. Indeed you are so on UBC campus – and funny it didn’t take long once that idea was enforced for recycling levels to skyrocket.

    As for the other bins in Christchurch. Since the introduction of a compost bin I haven’t once had to make a trip to the dump now for my parents or mother-in-law living there. Both have home compost bins, so you may ask why have one? The beauty of trees and shrubs is they grow. Now if anyone has ever tried to compost large limbs of trees or indeed potatoes which haven’t been desecrated first – you know that not all green waste is suitable for domestic composting. I would dearly love a compost bin that could take all of our non domestic compostable material – it would almost completely eliminate the way too many trips to the refuse station we need to make each summer and autumn just for the sake of a tree trimming.

    But again it all goes towards a greater education of the wider public. My exceedingly working class sister in Christchurch NEVER considered recycling or composting until their three bin system was introduced. It was simply a case of everything used once was rubbish. It’s easy, under the sink in the kitchen everything went in the rubbish bin, then the rubbish bag and a nice man with a truck took it away once a week – never to be seen again. But here’s the clincher, Calvin – my 7, 9 and 14 year old nephews and niece all know which bin contains which material and on what days they go out to the street curb. Same said kids in deepest darkest Linwood (gang house and unrelated murder on their street in past year) don’t maraud the street knocking over each other’s bins – it’s not fun. Said wheelie bins don’t even get tagged with graffiti.

    As for the “who will pick up my rubbish” attitude, the anthesis of aforementioned cantankerous buggers attitude was nobly displayed late last week with school children laden down with rubbish bags of “other people’s” waste collected along Portsmouth Drive, making the place better for us all to enjoy.

    Yes there are arguments around inner city living folk, and hill suburbs, but what do you know, they have the very same issues in Christchurch – and funnily enough, as in real life not all resolutions fit everyone’s needs and wants, doesn’t mean it isn’t a good idea worth considering. There are always folk who can’t be accommodated in every solution, doesn’t mean the goals and achievements of said system need be rejected. Currently, my great Aunty living on her own on High St can’t manage her rubbish bag or recycling bin, doesn’t stop her from paying her school aged neighbour pocket money for the service to be done.

    Nor does it mean that we really shouldn’t be considering a two tier approach – or even a local approach. Our apartment block in Vancouver had a collection place. There were several skips for rubbish (we are talking massive apartment complex), there were also clearly marked skips for recycling and compost, and then there were also areas where folk could leave stuff that others might want to use. UBC, being on endowment lands and not subject to council rates and services, works on solutions which meet the needs of an institution which has a ZERO waste policy, but also acknowledges that simple curbside recycling isn’t for everyone’s needs.

    Over simplified council bashing as so yawningly displayed by Calvin. “Doesn’t anyone in council think these things through” is no basis for rational argument – it’s hollow rhetoric with the sole purpose to illustrate one’s ignorance or arrogance and does nothing to further resolve the issues of sustainability which NEED to be at the core of every household, private business, local authority and national government thinking.

    Bring on the bins (and other solutions) and here’s hoping that one day the back of our car isn’t laden with recycling that Christchurch takes and Dunedin doesn’t.

  7. Well! That should leave me well and truly chastened. Yes, I can remember when we could take our beerys and fizzies to the depots and get monies. Best way out for recycling. No, I am not opposed to recycling, I am just saying that what is proposed is not the way. Does the council genuinely believe that what they are proposing will guarantee that? Do they control what the contractors do with the collections? Whereabouts in Christchurch is AHI glass now? Your friendly glass blowers are a minority lot, never going to consume large volumes. Can you tell me positively that there is a market which stands the freight costs to Auckland? Talk of recycling, where is the encouragement? Taken a trailer of green stuff lately to the Green Island station? What did they charge you to drop its contents? What of those small properties which don’t run to compost heaps? You are very lucky to have a seventy five year old Mum with full health and faculties, not everyone has. Not everyone is in the full rush of youth as you so obviously are. I applaud your attitude towards recycling, but please remember that one size does not necessarily fit all. And above all, don’t pontificate, it doesn’t suit you. In fact it comes over as the ravings of a pompous prat.

    • Elizabeth

      I’ve read your [first] comments, Paul.
      Once again, no need to offer ‘class’ differentiation in an argument.

      Recycling is a community wide issue. If we believe in sustainability then it’s a case of opening our hearts to all, rather than stereotype or stigmatise on the basis of class, ethnicity, gender, age or disability. Or whatever it is that has the societal effect of barrier making.

      As you were typing your piece, I was viewing YouTube and getting an insight into Majora Carter’s campaigning, via TEDTalks and other feed, for urban regeneration, sustainability/recycling and job creation. She’s someone that blows away cobweb barriers by initiating and managing sustainability projects that give hope and tangible relief to fellow citizens.

      Calvin has genuine reason to make the comments he has on this subject. Nothing wrong in thinking about practicalities of the two-bin system – for better or worse. So let’s do that. Calvin’s rejoinder is well expressed and right on the money!

      In considering the points Calvin raises, together with the concerns I heard expressed by submitters to the Council’s panel on kerbside waste collections, I don’t think Council has hit quite the right note on recycling, not yet – and not for right now.

      The two-bin system isn’t comprehensive enough. It’s definitely unwieldy for many residents (we did seek something in particular for people living in small households, units and apartments – this is NOT solved), it could be stupidly expensive (if the tender process and the current monopoly in waste management contracting isn’t got around), and YES, as the Councillors well know, one size can’t possibly fit all in Dunedin – one of the main reasons Council investigation and consultation processes have dragged on for so long.

      When talking with Cr Dave Cull not so long ago, this after I viewed television coverage of the Auckland stockpile Richard refers to, Dave put the simple question, is it sustainable to truck glass [or other material for recycling] to another city far afield for stockpiling?

      Well, NO. We should be handling the processing of recycled material locally – we have excellent engineering expertise and know-how here. Why would we send our detritus to a large city like Auckland, a sprawl-city that is very far from being sustainable in anything.

      The contamination of glass is a major concern for the development of any recycling/processing market in New Zealand but, as Richard says, technological advances may shift the mountain before long.

      I want to see the Council adopt policy and implementation systems to mandate and encourage businesses, organisations and citizens to adopt sustainable practices that reduce the waste pile, create jobs, and turn this city into – as Cr Fliss Butcher might say – an EcoCity.

      We’ve had this discussion before at What if? – remember we looked at Waitakere City and gave some links. I’ll fish these out shortly.

      Related post and comments:
      Dunedin renewables and recyclables


      I totally agree, Paul, that tertiary campuses are great places to influence sustainable thinking and adherence to the models for best practice we should all be following in life and work.

      Most importantly, secondary schools, primary schools and early childcare centres do their bit to get “the people” taking greater pride in place by simple practical means, which is what sustainability is all about.

      The members of community neighbourhoods (we need more examples like Port Chalmers and Waitati) fostering “neighbourhood” and “communication” are the best way to decide sustainable incremental changes to right the path of do-ability for environmental care and clean-up.


      The above was written before reading Richard’s comments on Glass and CHERE. Richard offers more hope in regard to local processing – but still, long distance trucking is not the answer for freighting, we had heard about trains!

      One thing that absolutely has to be knocked on the head is the high percentage use of wheelie bins by Dunedin residents, according to Council reports it’s 40% or more. I understand the bin contents (how convenient, people!!????) are going straight to landfill.

      How will the Council’s contracted residential waste collection service turn poor behaviour around if “convenience is everything”. And no, implementing a fine system for negligent residents is not the answer. That’s just more bureaucracy and duress… like they don’t have enough to contend with already through rates increases, Annual Plan/LTCCP processes and District Plan/RMA processes et cetera.

      Requirements need to be placed on waste service providers “to do their duty” using best practice environmental management approaches. That might sound like more bureaucracy too, but these are the people directly profiting from people’s complacency.

      We also need central government and local government to take a hard look at importers and New Zealand producers in terms of their processes, products and packaging. Reduce the waste potential at source. This has also been discussed on the related thread.

      Keen to foster open discussion here. Too important a topic to bruise with factional dissection. Providing new information to share is one of the best ways to avoid negativity and rancour.

      And now folks, it’s very late – have to put out my waste for the Monday morning collection. Good night.

  8. Richard


    The new smelter glass furnace coming on line in Auckland next year will boost Owens-Illinois (who own the former AHI or AGI) capacity to smelt glass from about 80,000 tonnes to about 155,000 tonnes.

    OI and recycler Visy are also building an optical sorting plant to try to increase the rate of glass recovery from glass that has been contaminated. This includes trying to process the 13,000 tonnes stockpiled at Visy’s Onehunga plant. This stockpile is often referred to as ‘Mt Visy’ and has accumulated solely because of the way Auckland councils ran co-mingled recycling schemes.

    There has been a dramatic change for the better in the mix since they changed to having the recyclables source sorted at the kerbside, i.e. by the householder.

    The separation of glass bottles and jars from other recyclables, in particular, paper and cardboard can mean the difference between a standard price and a premium. Broken glass and shards in cardboard and paper can make it unusable. Contaminated glass is only good for grinding into aggregate etc.

    A-I is already paying recyclers in Oamaru and Central a premium for glass bottles and jars, or “cullet’ as it is called when crushed. They are offering to pay the freight back to Auckland simply because of the availability of containers they use to ship pallets of wine bottles to this region and which otherwise would mostly go back empty.

    There is a useful study on the subject of crates and bags worth reading: CHERE – A Health and Safety Study of Kerbside Recycling Schemes using Boxes and Recyclables (2009) – the result of nine organisations working together in Wales.


    Click to access chere.pdf

  9. “I am just saying that what is proposed is not the way.”

    Why didn’t you say that instead of throwing up silly arguments like what day of the week is which bin – really.

    “Does the council genuinely believe that what they are proposing will guarantee that?”

    Quite possibly not 100% no, but it’s a hell of a start and a heck of a lot better than the status quo.

    “Do they control what the contractors do with the collections?”

    Depends on what contracts are written – if they want to yes, if they don’t no.

    “Whereabouts in Christchurch is AHI glass now?”

    Gone – but that isn’t the result of the lack of recycling, a direct result of uncompetitive manufacturing practices in this country – a legacy of under investment in R&D – but don’t get me started on that. Besides that has nothing to do with it – I was stating a knowledge (if somewhat limited) of the industry.

    “Your friendly glass blowers are a minority lot, never going to consume large volumes.”

    Ever heard of increasing market and production? No they aren’t, but then the business I also mentioned up north which is looking for the glass is documented above by Richard. It’s a resource not a waste product.

    “Can you tell me positively that there is a market which stands the freight costs to Auckland?”

    According to the managing director who was on the TV article, they will take quality recycled glass from anywhere in the country – indeed they are needing to source the stuff from overseas to make up for the shortfall from the NZ market. But then we have one heck of a direct line all the way from Dunedin to Auckland – it’s called a freight train and they are bloody efficient.

    “Talk of recycling, where is the encouragement?”

    It’s called sustainability and liveability. Does everything need to be at the end of a stick with $$$ notes as encouragement. But then the encouragement I would have thought was by the council giving you the bins (the means) by which you can do so.

    “Taken a trailer of green stuff lately to the Green Island station? What did they charge you to drop its contents?

    I can’t remember the exact cost as I go to the city transfer station, but you are making my point for me. With a large compost bin in Christchurch I no longer need to take a load of green stuff to the transfer station, the load is spread out over bin empties.

    “What of those small properties which don’t run to compost heaps?”

    ??? Again my point exactly, I know of plenty of folk in Christchurch without compost bins, they then throw all of their compostable material into the city collection bins. This actually increases the volume of compostable material as the commercial composting machines operated by the councils can break down material not possible in domestic bins – it’s win win win win win win win win win – get it.

    “You are very lucky to have a seventy five year old Mum with full health and faculties, not everyone has.”

    No, as I said I also have a very elderly great aunt on High St who pays the next door neighbour’s kids (not very much at all) to put out her rubbish or recycling for her.

    “I applaud your attitude towards recycling, but please remember that one size does not necessarily fit all.”

    Thank you but I also made that point, and while Christchurch took the one size fits all (which it clearly doesn’t in the apartments or steep hill suburbs), Dunedin shouldn’t. But this doesn’t also mean we need to poo poo the whole scheme.

    Perhaps if you had structured a reasoned argument in the first place the pontification may not have eventuated.

  10. Phil

    Who uses recycled glass anyway? The following industries and practices currently use recycled glass as part of their process:

    Sandblasting, Landfill cover, Sand traps for filtration, Sand bags for vehicle traction, Beach sand, Hydroponics, Ice control (salt replacement), Aggregate base for roads, Glasphalt, Stepping stones, Retaining wall blocks, Lawn ornaments, Pottery, Drain pipe bedding & backfill, Septic tank drain fields, French drains, Retaining wall backfill, Fiberglass, Marbles, Eco-glass, Glass beads, Jewelry, Marblite, Opacified flat glass, Pressed glass, Sintered Mosaic tile, Synthetic marble, Terrazzo, Industrial flooring, Roof tile….

    To name a few. Sometimes life can be as difficult as you want to make it.

  11. Phil

    Recycled tyre bales are used today in Scotland as a basecourse for roading projects, placed over a geotextile fabric. These are proving to be particularly effective in soft soil areas and in forestry regions.

  12. Richard

    As a matter of interest, I have noted that most, if not all those who use privately contracted wheelie bins in ours and surrounding streets also put out “the blue bin”.

  13. David

    Is this not just another case of paying more to council, to duplicate something we already have (i.e. like stadium, town hall, library projects).

    1/ Higher cost
    2/ Who has room for ANOTHER bin in their kitchen
    3/ Some households recycle mainly glass, or mainly plastic / cardboard – these people pay MORE, for HALF the service.
    4/ The alternate weeks collection IS a pain. And wrong containers are put out, and right ones are not put out, because it changes around every week.
    5/ If you do have mainly glass, or mainly plastic and cardboard, what to you do when your bin is full after a week.

    Advantages to households ??? None.

    Paying MORE for a system that’s demonstrably WORSE, is absurd.

  14. Thank you David. On the button. Just leave the system as it is at the same price.

  15. Calvin and David – short answer NO!!

    Long answer

    “Is this not just another case of paying more to council, to duplicate something we already have?”


    Currently we can only recycle limited plastic, cardboard and a very limited list of other materials.

    With a proper system like they have in CHCH the amount of material recycled, reused, composted and ultimately sustained (as in given another life) is ten fold that of Dunedin.

    “Advantages to households ??? None.”

    It’s called sustainability, stop with Me Me Me culture and you might just get it.

  16. Phil

    Excellent point, Richard ! I have noted exactly the same thing in my street. I have neighbours on either side who diligently set out their blue bins every Tuesday morning, with the bag of newpapers placed on top, cardboard folded and tied with string, and the small black bag sitting beside. They know EXACTLY what to do, and why they should be doing to it. And, considering the amount of extra effort involved, they must feel good about it.

    Yet, come Wednesday morning, one day later, along comes the same contractor (operating privately this time) and empties the green wheelie bin from outside the same properties !! A bizarre study in human behaviour.

    I don’t know. Maybe they feel cheated somewhat if they don’t get to use everything on offer. Or maybe they are chucking out stuff that really shouldn’t be chucked out, and the contractors should be enforced not to accept.

    One day I’ll launch a raid and check. In the interests of forum curiosity.

  17. David

    Paul – the new system is WORSE than the current one.

    It will make it harder to recycle what we currently recycle – not easier. Most people I know have no room for another bin in their kitchen. They’ll probably choose to recycle EITHER glass or plastic.

    If you recycle mainly glass, or mainly plastic / cardboard, then it HALVES the amount you can recycle. The rest is likely to go in the black plastic bags.

    It’s just like the parking – WORSE system, MORE expensive.

  18. David my objection is mainly to that of Calvin who was repeating a moan to the ODT from a few weeks back, in which his major complaint then and above, was that it was going to be difficult to remember which days to put bins out.

    I agree the system isn’t the best, but worse – that I’ve yet to determine. What I do like (and again Calvin doesn’t seem to get) is that at least people (in council and in public) are finally talking about this issue – this is a good thing.

  19. Paul: What you construe as a ‘moan’ was simply pointing out the complications being added for no gain. It is a case of less for more (cost), something the council is concentrating on these days, witness the parking fiasco.

  20. No Calvin you constructed your whole letter to the editor and above said moan based on the inability of the user to remember which day of the week the various bins are to go out.

    If you were intending to state otherwise, that would have led to a more meaningful argument, around the issues.

    However, as stated, your original argument was no basis on which to dismiss ideas leading to potentially greater sustainability in the community.

    AND let me just state this for the record. Even if this isn’t the best option, it’s still better than doing nothing for the very fact that it’s got people talking, and unlike Don Brash’s fav person TINA, there are alternatives and options, if not this time, next time.

  21. Richard

    You are correct, Elizabeth.

    The indicated price by contractors for continuing the status quo for recycling using the blue bin – but EXCLUDING glass – was $75 for 3 years; $46 to $54 for 7 years; and $46 to $63 for 3 years + 3 years ror.

    {assuming “ror” stands for right of renewal of contract? -EK}

  22. Pedantics Paul, pedantics. I actually wrote the letter 22/9/09. “Problem: how is the average citizen to know, after a short while, which fortnight is which? I can see now, wheelie bins – since discarded – and blue bins put out in the wrong sequence, languishing uncollected on the footpath, tipped over and spilt and the residents left with the bother of bringing them back in, only to have to put them out again when they think they may be collected.
    All this plus the pleasure of paying an additional cost over the status quo, which seems to suit everyone admirably. Like the parking debacle, do these people think these things through?”
    So, what is so hard to understand about that?

  23. David

    Richard – I can only see one benefit in the new system.

    That is that glass would be separated from other recyclables, meaning the contractors would have lower costs which could be passed onto ratepayers.

    However if the new system is dearer than the current one (even with new increased prices), then that completely nullifies any advantage.

    There are only disadvantages and higher cost, compared to the current system.

    • Elizabeth

      Adding to David’s comment – and apart from the number of bins issue which isn’t so straightforward to solve for all the people with limited space – I really welcome, with the proposed system, being able to recycle more types of plastic than we can presently.

      I return to Phil’s query though, why can’t we have more neighbourhood collection centres? Really like the idea that each supermarket and the larger food stores should be required to provide these – obviously other sites in the community would be needed. However, since supermarket operations are one of the largest sources of people’s household waste, putting recycling back on the supermarkets would be a socially just kind of move.

  24. “how is the average citizen to know, after a short while, which fortnight is which?”

    Are you again serious. I would assume that the ‘average’ citizen possesses a memory greater than that of a goldfish. Besides if the system is anything like that of CHCH (I don’t know all the details yet), the accompanying very informative fridge magnet with all of the information on dates and what can go in which bin, was a helpful move. Now assuming that the ‘average’ citizen has a fridge and the intelligence to place said magnet on it, they will get the idea.

    Having said that, the line of wheelie bins down the street is normally a heck of a good giveaway.

  25. And what if many are goldfish, how then would they get to see the information on the fridge magnet? Unless their bowl was very close to the fridge. Paul, you really are pedantic!

  26. Actually I’m not going to let this one lie.

    If your major concern is the inability of folk to:

    A) look on the fridge to see which day their wheelie bin is due to be put out, &
    B) unable to notice the row of wheelie bins down the street, which results in
    C) an urban wasteland from the social decay caused by the inability of folk to control their urges to tip over said wheelie bins,

    could you please answer me why if we have a perfect example of such a system 378km up State Highway 1, do the kind folk of CHCH
    a) possess a greater memory than we do, &
    b) resist the urge to turn their environment into a tip?

    This sort of attitude grates the heck out of me. These are neither valid or even rational arguments or concerns. It’s irrational reactionary rants based on the continued baggage one brings to the debate whenever council is involved.

    Sustainability is an issue too great to be so trivialised.

  27. Richard

    The question of whether council/s should be in the business of owning landfills and collecting recyclables and residual waste has not been commented upon. It was addressed in the current review.

    At the moment, some of the prices for recyclables are not good at all. That is why Christchurch’s MRF went “bottom-up” and why CCC had to shell out $24m to buy it just to handle what is being collected at the kerbside. The most promising of the new systems/technologies can recycle everything including sludge etc – but excluding glass and metal – into forms of energy and inert material suitable for use e.g. in roading base formation.

    So, my guess is that council/s will be out of kerbside collecting and (maybe) owning and managing landfills altogether a decade from now.

    In the meantime, the cost of doing something about sorting the wastestream means that the cost of just retaining the status quo (but without glass) doubles plus. With glass, even more.

  28. David

    Paul – I don’t know if you have ever lived with an irregular collection system.

    My guess from your comments is that you never have.

    They are a total pain. You only have to miss a SINGLE fortnightly collection (for whatever reason – confusion, forgetfulness, or because you were busy / out of town) and all of a sudden that means it is a whole MONTH between collections.

    A month’s recycling doesn’t fit into a bin, so where does it go? (into the black bags of course)

    And whether we have a collection weekly, or alternate collections every other week, has NOTHING to do with what is collected or how green we are.

    In fact, under the new system, a lot of people will recycle LESS.

    The majority of people will not fit a second bin in their kitchen. How many will just throw the plastic milk bottle into the rubbish rather than going down to the basement or outside on a cold winter’s night to find the new yellow bin in the rain and dark?

  29. “A months recycling doesn’t fit into a bin, so where does it go? (into the black bags of course)”

    Really? Is sustainability that soft a word in your world that if it’s not handed to you in the easiest possible manner then it’s out with the rubbish.

    Taking your very sad argument on board, I’ll just be throwing all of the excess bottles out in the rubbish this week from our party over the weekend? Not bloody likely. They’ll be put in the back of the car and make their way to the bottle bank – or they will be added to our neighbours (they don’t mind one bit).

    Sorry I don’t know one family (apart from folk here on this site) who keep recycling bins in their kitchens. Ours is in the basement, others out the back door.

    The very very sad reality that this thread has rammed home to me, is that recycling and sustainability are just trendy conveniences for some and not actually considered as part of a whole approach to life.

    In answer to your question – YES I have. I have lived with irregular collection systems. I have also lived in apartments in inner city Vancouver. Neither were particularly onerous or tiresome, they were just different systems.

    It saddens me that recycling is such a hard thing for you folk to even fathom.

    If you want to see a good ‘alternate week’ collection system in place, check this out (you don’t even need to drive to CHCH).


    I mean it is so laughably easy that reading the above moans and groans, I’m almost reduced to tears of anguish and astonishment that displayed arrogance and ignorance towards recycling can be so blatantly defended.

    I mean, reading above comments I doubt if any of the articles that can be recycled found on this Christchurch City Council page are even considered recyclable by some in Dunedin.


    I mean it is so easy for us to use an old wicker basket in the basement to take all of our recyclables that shamefully Dunedin doesn’t accept, then every now and then it goes in the back of the car and off to CHCH with us. Yet you David are telling me that people can’t be arsed to make the effort to recycle because it’s such an onerous task as to walk 1-5m to place a bottle in a recycling bin.

    Thank god we have kids who will just laugh at these attitudes, and this woeful if not shameful attitude will go the way of the dinosaurs.

    • Elizabeth

      No garage here, no carport, no garden shed, no garden spot for UGLY bins (I’m maintaining the original 1930s plantings on our apron of a site), AND NO BACK DOOR, Paul – we have a communal laundry for six apartments in the basement with no room for bins AT ALL. So yes the blue bin lives in my kitchen, in raw condition with no cupboard available to screen it, it’s looking like incendiary hell to the original 1930s layout and fittings (and I have one of the larger kitchens here). I jump over it daily just to be a tidy F***ing Kiwi. And no I don’t want it in my bathroom, my elegant lounge or bedroom. Oh wait, I could put the blue bin in the stairwell, break my neck or spine on it, and claim ACC for life.
      Hmmm. But I really don’t know where I’d put another PLASTIC bin.
      PS And I’m totally into recycling…

  30. Phil

    OK, here’s how I managed to live, as did 14 million other people in the same country. Without a mass uprising.

    The kerbside collectors picked up 2 bins, on alternate weeks. One contained burnables, the other contained compostables. One bin was brown, the other was green. That was it. That was all you could throw out. If your bin was found to contain material other than burnable or compostable, the collection company noted it down and you duely received a fine in the post from the Council. No crying about it, that was the law. If you forgot your week, you lived with the smell. You generally didn’t forget again.

    All other material had to be placed in recycling bins. As I said previously, I think there were usually 6 different types of bins, located within easy distance from any house. There was always a set at every supermarket car park, or on vacant lots in areas that were more than about a 10 minute walk from a supermarket. On occasions they were housed inside a small shed, especially in the high residential areas. I lived in a small housing estate where our waste collection shed had a keypad operated locked door. It served about 40 properties, and was cleared by the local council every week.

    The bins were labelled (and I’m testing my memory here) as newpapers, cardboard, metals, plastics, light bulbs, coloured glass, and uncoloured glass. Ok, that’s seven. They were all emptied by council contractors.

    On the occasions I had to go to a landfill site, I met the same bin system again. On a slightly larger scale, with extra bins labelled for timber or electronics. No such thing as just up-ending a trailerload into a pit. There was no charge at the landfill site.

    It worked, folks. It worked because people weren’t given a choice. I’m all for democracy, but we don’t always know what is best for all of us.

  31. David

    Paul – you seem to have a problem understanding that not everyone is in the same situation as you.

    Because you say it’s easy for you, you then falsely assume it’s easy for everyone.

    Everyone I know keeps their blue bin in their kitchen cupboards.

    Many people don’t really care about recycling.

    Many people don’t have basements.

    Some people live in apartments, or council flats, or pensioners cottages – with no secure storage area outside.

    And you completely miss the point anyway.

    Why have a system that is WORSE and costs MORE? With no advantage.

    The system you are backing makes it MORE difficult to recycle – not easier.

    A lot of people in our area don’t bother with the blue bins now. And you think it’s a good idea to make it harder to recycle?

    Do you want people to recycle more, or recycle less?

    • Elizabeth

      Phil – that sounds like an organised take no prisoners system, I could work to that, in terms of the easy walking distance to recycling bins and waste collection sheds.

  32. Phil

    Ah, there’s the statement that proves the point. “many people don’t care about recycling”. That’s exactly why it needs to be forced upon them. Because the old ways are no longer acceptable in a modern, progressive society. It already works with the blue bins. People already know that if the contractors pick up the black bag, and they hear bottles rattling around inside, they leave the bag. And then the householder has to deal with that themselves. So they separate out bottles and cans into the blue bins. They are already recycling. Ok, it might not be dear to their hearts, as you’ve pointed out. But, when faced with no alternative, they WILL do it. As you’ve correctly noted, this is no longer an initiative that we can leave up to the individual to implement.

  33. Paul:
    Where do you get the firm conviction that David and I am so against recycling? If you could just get off your sanctimonious horse for only a moment and read our lips. We are simply saying “the existing system ain’t broke”. Just leave it as it is. The whole business of recycling is a great idea. Problem though, is who should sort it, where should it go and what happens to it when it gets there? Richard concedes that it is a problem seemingly at this point with no answer. He even suggests that councils will eventually get out of the business, leaving the citizens at the mercy of the commercial boys. And would we want what Phil experienced? I don’t think so. Would any of you like to see Elizabeth with fractured spine? If CHCH is so great why did their MRF go belly up? Why did the CCC have to put up $24 million to cover the kerbside collections? Seems your assessment of the CHCH operation is perhaps not complete.

  34. David

    Exactly Calvin – I’m for doing as much recycling as possible.

    Which is why I’m against a system where many people will recycle less, because it makes it more difficult.

    And you hit the nail on the head with the sorting.

    If they sort it, then it should be a little bit dearer for us.

    And if we sort is, it should be a little bit cheaper.

    But the proposal is to change to a system where we sort it, AND pay more. It’s a LOSE LOSE situation.

    • Elizabeth

      The landfill caters for the estimated 35-40% of Dunedin households…

      ### ODT Online Tue, 8 Dec 2009
      Solution to landfill problems needed soon
      By Chris Morris
      Dunedin’s only private landfill, which provides for the refuse of hundreds of commercial customers and thousands of homes, is filling up fast – and threatening to reduce the lifespan of the Dunedin City Council’s own operation at Green Island.
      Read more

  35. Green Island landfill is filling up fast. Did anyone mention that the sludge from the Tahuna sewage Treatment Station goes there as well?

  36. Thanks Calvin for pointing out the very reason why we need to remember to recycle as much as possible and push for better sustainability.

  37. “the existing system ain’t broke”

    yes it is. If not even 400Km up the road I can recycle a vastly greater range of material than I can here, that tells me that what I can’t recycle here goes into landfill – and that isn’t a working system.

    The lip service you pay to recycling is pathetic and a disservice to the community and environment. FULL STOP!


    “Everyone I know keeps their blue bin in their kitchen cupboards.”

    What’s wrong with out the back door? I assume they have a back door. There’s no law against putting it out the back door. Is it too far to walk to the back door, or the laundry?

    “Many people don’t really care about recycling.”

    That is a very sad indictment on the lack of social responsibility in the community. Very sad indeed.

    “Many people don’t have basements.” Basement, laundry, hall cupboard, back door, wood shed…

    Really do you want this spoon fed to you, it’s your responsibility to recycle and a failure to do so is freeloading off the rest of society.

    You can all pretty well pick up that I find your “I put out my glass so look at me I’m a recycler” attitude pretty sick. It’s not hard and some people are working pretty bloody hard to make it easier for those who can’t be arsed walking more than one metre to recycle.

  38. “Why did the CCC have to put up $24 million to cover the kerbside collections”

    Because in life doing the right thing sometimes costs. And if your figures are correct, that is a bloody small amount to move the city in the right direction towards sustainability.

    And if the poor hard done by ratepayer or citizen can’t see that their pathetic efforts in recycling and sustainability actually costs them MORE in the end, then again that is a sad indictment on society.

  39. It’s like the people who got on their high horse just because we used cloth nappies for our babies not 4-5 years ago.

    Yes that’s right, some people actually tried to have a go at us that

    1) it was bad for the kid {it isn’t, there is less nappy rash or associated ailments with cloth nappies}
    2) it was actually bad for the environment with hot washes, harsh chemicals and clothes driers.

    When they actually took the time to shut up and listen to the story they finally understood that the little effort we made, was

    a) Financially good for us, saving about $4500 on disposable nappies a year.
    b) Good for the environment. We used environmentally friendly soakers, cold wash and hung the nappies on the line outside or on racks inside. The whole time we have our boys in cloth nappies we used the clothes drier ONCE.

    It wasn’t hard, my parents did it, we’re both working parents we made the time. But oh no in the “me me me” place we live these days, people are way too bloody busy to use cloth nappies, and then have the audacity to claim that our efforts were bad.

    If it is too onerous a task to walk with your empty milk container a greater distance to the recycling bin than it is to the rubbish, then you don’t understand the first thing about recycling and need to educate yourself very very quickly.

    • Elizabeth

      Trying to get my head around why there’s a lingering need to slam people at What if?. Other blogs get into a dreadful mess because people drop all pretence of civility.

      It’s the season to be jolly, Paul – unfortunately, it’s also the season of gross retail packaging. Such a lot of (despicable) non recyclable plastic and other materials (see made-in-china woe) for the typical New Zealand consumer Christmas. Luckily, inventive practical people know how to steer themselves into a safer celebration of the gift-giving holidays.

      This really is the perfect season to inform, educate and persuade in a calm friendly manner – yeah yeah, pipe in the charm and positive energy – taking the recycling, sustainability message to more people.

      Before laws/imperatives are struck though…you won’t change the world by telling people you’re the only one with the answers, so they MUST listen to you because you’re so right, where others are so dumb, blind and “silly”.

      Something about the subtle art of persuasion…

  40. Paul-
    When can we expect the book on “1,000 ways to recycle.”? It must be very satisfying to think that you reinvented the cloth nappy. But hey! it has been done before, by generations, including mine. Your friends who castigated you for doing so must be very strange friends indeed. Maybe they need recycling.

  41. Phil

    Maybe I was a bit poor with my description of the process I lived through for a number of years. Somehow it’s been viewed as a negative approach, sorting out all waste into categories at the point of origin. Maybe I’m a bit weird, but, to me, it was the ideal solution. It’s never easier than it is at the start. And I do struggle to understand how people could see a negative side to it. The consumer had to do more work, yes. But then, they were the creator of the waste. I had to play more part to help my chosen environment, just as the council played their part later on with the final disposal processes. If we are going to throw every problem into the lap of Council to fix, when we do have the option of contributing to the solution, then we don’t really have the right to complain about the results.

    My blue bin sits outside all week. In the wind, rain and snow. The only time I fill it is on the morning of collection, when I take it out to the street on the way to work.

    My son used cloth nappies also. Apart from being a bit of an idiot later in life, I don’t think it did him any harm.

  42. David

    Phil – our neighbours keep their recyling outside as well. Currently, after the recent high winds, there’s plastic bottles and cardboard up and down our street and in people’s gardens.

    I pulled a beer carton out of our garden yesterday, and plastic bottles today.

    And Paul continues to completely miss the point. And continues to abuse some here who want more recycling.

    Just because you cannot imagine someone with a situation different to your own, doesn’t all of a sudden mean those people cease to exist.

    You can have a system where it is easier to recycle, or more difficult to recycle.

    Choosing a more difficult system when everyone agrees we need to recycle more than we do now, is likely to have the opposite effect of what is wanted.

    If you want LESS recycling, then go ahead – have two bins that people have no room for, only collect glass bottles from student flats half as often, and if one of the flatmates forgets to put bottles out on the correct week, I’m sure they’ll fit a whole month’s worth of Tui bottles into one bin – yeah right.

  43. David

    Oh, and Paul, if we are truely to believe you are really concerned for the environment, I’m sure you would never have wanted $200m of concrete (one of the very worst possible building products as far as manufacture emissions go) that is completely unecessary duplication of the large concrete stadium we already have.

    Not to mention the masses of additional carbon emitted to earn an additional $200 million of additional rates.

  44. Phil

    Oh, I never mentioned keeping the recycling outside, just the empty blue bin. The recycling stays inside until collection day. In exactly the same way that we all did before the days of blue bins. It’s not like we’ve got more rubbish today, just because we’ve got a blue bin. If it fitted inside before, it’ll fit inside today. I agree, it’s dumb to leave stuff outside if you know it’s going to get blown around the neighbourhood. I hate picking the stuff up too from my neighbours.

    • Elizabeth

      I really like the potential around recycling and sustainable living to “infect” a neighbourhood – not by the windblown bits from next door sitting amongst the lettuces – but getting people in more streets talking with each other more often about how to make a difference. Same as how people want to know more about setting up their own vegetable gardens at home, and community gardens in public parks, reserves, empty lots, verges etc…and how small produce markets happen now we’ve pushed Otago Farmers Market as a model into local and New Zealand consciousness…doesn’t have to be perfect, does have to work!
      Building community, taking ownership, making it a worthwhile “share”.
      It was real nice to grow up in a small town where we knew everybody…and Dunedin has the kind of scale as a city where this operates in pockets, a lot of it school or sport based – with the potential to go wide.
      Forgetting the TV sensationalism, it’s time for Extreme Makeover: NZ Eco Edition. It doesn’t have to be “extreme” until it’s cumulative!

  45. Phil

    How we’ve missed the boat on community gardens is beyond me, Elizabeth. From the English allotments which fill the suburban landscape when you fly into Heathrow, to the Scandivania “koloni”. It a global community asset that seems to have passed us by. As well as addressing sustainability issue, they provide community social focal points. A place to improve both the social and physical health of the city. The more people learn about their neighbours, they more they take care of each other. I have to confess that, aside from my neighbours maybe 2 houses either side of me, I wouldn’t have a clue who lives in my street. Aside from door knocking (which can be viewed as being a bit dodgy), little opportunity to change that.

    Garden plots are like dog parks. A great leveller for all those attending.

    • Elizabeth

      My best pal Nicole is British. One day a few years ago we were wandering through Dunedin Public Art Gallery. We both came up short in front of a painting in the lower galleries, a painting by Stanley Spencer, depicting an English allotment surrounded by apartment houses. It’s a great work.

      Now, it’s also a metaphor for what drove us to start the Otago Farmers Market.

      We first saw the painting when we were doing the hard yards to see the market open at the Railway Station. The power of allotments, just as you describe Phil, is no different than what it was all about to empower market gardeners to pick up the traces, and reestablish local produce lines despite the supermarkets’ grip on the industry. We let the producers know they had a community!

      Every time we look critically into performance aspects of the farmers market, and what needs fixing or improvement with what quality control, we go back to that image and what it portrays. Let’s say, we’re looking for our next major spare time project…the allotment painting by Spencer has a lot within it for us to say and invent.

      Exactly right about dog parks. Gets people back to essence.

  46. David

    Lovelock Ave – another case of council spending millions to duplicate something or make it worse?

    Take one of the most icy winter streets in Dunedin, and make it twice as steep.

    It would seem to me that knowingly making a dangerous street far more dangerous could potentially be criminially negligent if someone crashes.

    Is it even legal to make a street more dangerous?

  47. Richard

    The Botanic Garden is part of the Town Belt – an important part. I guess no-one will argue over that.

    So, David a question for you, one that is not intended to start an ‘argument’ over the pros and cons of the planned realignment of Lovelock.

    It was put to me by a fellow citizen when the original debate over the diversion of Lovelock Avenue was at its peak and assumes, of course, that Lovelock Avenue is not “there”:

    “If Council was deciding to “drive” a road through the Botanic Garden instead of taking one out, what sort of response would people make to that?”

    Interesting! That is what comes though from standing back and looking at it from a different perspective.

    • Elizabeth

      Lovelock Ave – I’m just surprised the group seeking to appeal (past tense) didn’t canvass more widely to raise money. I didn’t hear a pipsqueak from them after they made the decision to appeal. Perhaps I missed a classified or display ad in the ODT telling citizens where to forward their donations. Campaigning to Environment Court takes more than getting appropriate legal advice!

  48. James

    If Council was deciding to “drive” a road through the Botanic Garden instead of taking one out, what sort of response would people make to that?

    This would quite rightly provoke outrage. However, the oft-overlooked problem with these thought experiments is that oftentimes imagining the thing removed doesn’t remove the influence of the thing.

    In this case, the prior existence of Lovelock Avenue has created a very clear disjunct between the more formal botanic garden, and the wilder Lovelock Bush. This boundary will still exist if the roadway is removed, but had the roadway not existed, then I suspect Lovelock Bush would have been fully integrated into the Upper Gardens.

    And if we were really starting from scratch, why not send the road straight on down to Harbour Terrace, and incorporate more reserve, also cut off from the botanic garden?

  49. David

    Richard – my point was about making it more likely that people will get seriously hurt or killed.

    Last year my wife needed to drive up Lovelock Ave every morning. The problem wasn’t going up in the frost – it was out of control cars coming down.

    It was so dangerous that in the winter she completely stopped using it, and instead drove all the way down Dundas St, waited to get through the lights onto the one way north, through the Gardens intesection, and back up to the top of Lovelock.

    Yes, there is an argument that the gardens will be better, but then you also lose the nice winding drive through bush, so it is both positive and negative in this respect.

    But from a safetly point of view, council is knowingly and deliberately making a dangerous road much more dangerous.

    Can you legally do that?

    And if so, you are still likely to have some legal culpability if someone is hurt (like the current issue with the Queenstown council and the falling poplars).

    If council knowingly fails to improve a dangerous situation that you are responsible for, or worse – decide to make things even MORE dangerous – then there is a good chance of being criminally liable if someone is hurt.

  50. Elizabeth

    What annoys me is the proposed botanic garden development could be fitted to the existing site and road layout. The whole new roading thing is extraneous, and yes, the engineering for “safety” doesn’t cut it.

  51. Richard

    Well David, what you say was argued before the Commissioners by lay people and by experts. They gave EVIDENCE. The Commissioners would give appropriate weight to that – and the point you make – in their decision. What’s more, I know they also walked the present and proposed realignment.

    They made their decision accordingly and I assume it is on-line.

    In any case, the wider issue was not my point nor am I going there.

    I thought it was worth posting just to underline a different perspective that I found quite pertinent.

  52. David

    Richard – I understand that some people’s priority is the gardens, and they think it’s a good idea to spend millions of ratepayers dollars to shift the road, regardless of if there is a high chance of people being seriously hurt.

    Presumably crossing a road with very few cars is such an issue that they think nothing of spending millions to shift it.

    But what a vast cost – ratepayers being absolutely hammered again – for very little benefit. For a large number of people it will be worse.

    It will be much much steeper, cyclists won’t be able to ride up, and it will be very dangerous in winter.

    In a list of ways to waste appalling amounts of ratepayers money for little benefit, this would have to be right up there. (even with a lot of competition lately).

  53. David

    Richard – the argument put to you earlier by a citizen simply doesn’t carry water because
    1/ it assumes the cost would be the same. Whereas we have
    – current alignment being free,
    – new alignment costing millions
    2/ – current alignment safe scenic drive
    – new alignment dangerous steep drive
    3/ current alignment is cyclable
    – new alignment to steep to ride up.

    So even if you were starting from scratch (which means ignoring spending millions of dollars which should never be done) the current alignment would still be a better option.

  54. Richard

    I have no problem with your opinions, David. I am not even going to argue them. I have, after all, listened to both sides.

    There was a second question, one I put to the spokesperson for Opoho residents opposing the proposed realignment.

    I am reminded of it by your comment in an earlier post: “Last year my wife needed to drive up Lovelock Ave every morning. The problem wasn’t going up in the frost – it was out of control cars coming down. It was so dangerous that in the winter she completely stopped using it, and instead drove all the way down Dundas St, waited to get through the lights onto the one way north, through the Gardens intesection, and back up to the top of Lovelock.” Sensible person, your wife!

    The spokesperson referred to made a similar comment. My question in response: “Should we then close Lovelock Avenue altogether and forget the realignment”. The response: “That hasn’t been thought of (by the group) and so I cannot comment”. Fair enough!

    On what you have said then about the present alignment and the cost of the new one (it is not millions though), what do you think about a permanent closure and no realignment?

    • Elizabeth

      In accordance with the Botanic Garden Strategic Development Plan, Dunedin City Council states:

      Realignment of Lovelock Avenue

      * There is an ongoing threat to both pedestrian safety and traffic users.
      * It compromises the security of the Botanic Garden and Northern Cemetery.
      * It occupies valuable land.
      * It restricts development opportunities.
      * It is a barrier to integration of the two parts of the Garden.


      * To unlock the full potential of the Upper Garden.
      * To address threats to pedestrian safety.
      * To improve security to the valuable plant collection, Aviary and other assets of the Botanic Garden and the Northern Cemetery.
      * To reduce maintenance issues for Botanic Garden staff such as clearing drains and cutting back overhanging foliage to allow passage of vehicles.
      * To reduce road maintenance costs as the road will be reduced in length from 1500m to 500m.

      While addressing all these issues, the most important gain is the development of a better Botanic Garden for all residents and visitors to use and enjoy.

      Relocate the propagation / administration buildings

      * Cluttered and decrepit structures.
      * Inefficient and inadequate for the purpose required.
      * The location restricts public access and circulation around the Garden.
      * Bad visual impact from the city and Garden vantage points.
      * Situated in the wrong place.


      * To create part of a new gateway to the Botanic Garden.
      * To use a more appropriate site, freeing up valuable land.
      * To remove unsightly storage facilities and worksites.
      * To establish a suite of purpose built buildings to maximise savings and the efficiencies of modern day technology.

      Reference: http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/facilities/botanic-garden/development-plan

  55. David

    Richard – I think Lovelock Ave is a useful route to the Upper Gardens, Opoho, Signal Hill etc, particularly because, without it, you effectively make a single bottleneck at the Gardens intersection for access to all those places.

    It’s also a very pleasant piece of scenic road.

    It is however, one of the most icy roads in the city in winter. Only two or three other thoroughfares compare to it.

    Elizabeth – there seems to be a number of serious problems with the DCC Plan.

    1/ Some of the issues stated are made WORSE by the realignment (i.e. safety).
    2/ Other issues like security, will not necessarily change at all.
    3/ It cannot possibly make Lovelock Ave 1000m shorter – more like 3-400m.
    4/ Any savings in maintenance costs will be insignificant compared to the costs of a whole new much steeper road.

    Reading the issues and aims, it really sounds like they are scraping the bottom of the barrel to try to come up with sound logical reasons to spend a great deal of money.

    • Elizabeth

      David said: Reading the issues and aims, it really sounds like they are scraping the bottom of the barrel to try to come up with sound logical reasons to spend a great deal of money.

      Couldn’t agree more. I’m also skeptical about former DCC staff being “Friends” in pushing this Plan. The extent of moving and shaking they’re doing appears to be without some critical independence, in my view.

  56. James

    There is either a typo or a real miscalculation there. Lovelock Ave, in its entirety, is only 1200m long. The realignment would save ~300m.

    I’m a little less sure on the safety issue. Most cars come to grief on the hairpin. The new alignment would see the road turn through less than 90 degrees, but I suspect it is still enough to cause some grief, unless the steepness of the hill down sees them going slow enough to negotiate the corner.

    In my mind the tricky part of the current road is that there is never any ice uphill of the hairpin, so you have to remember in advance to be going slowly, just in case it is an icy day.

  57. meg55

    I have rather lost faith in the Environment Court over their ruling in favour of the DCC over this one. The DCC produced no conclusive case for the overall benefits of this realignment. The safety gains are equivocal at best, the DCC produced only the sketchiest indicative plans of what new facilities were planned and where they would be (and none of them seemed to necessitate changing the route of Lovelock Ave) and worst of all, from my point of view, they are gratuitously destroying part of the Town Belt, which has its heritage value recognised and protected in the District Plan. The REAL reason they want to close this part of Lovelock Ave has nothing to do with improving public access. Quite the contrary, they want to keep the public out. It won’t be long before the whole gardens are fenced off and locked at night, and the elderly and disabled who at present can drive through the gardens will have their access denied completely, unless they have someone willing to push them in a wheelchair. And it’s a mighty steep push. I’m hopping mad over this one.

  58. Elizabeth


    During consultation, the council received 623 written submissions on the proposed new service, 40% in support of Option C and 39% wanting the status quo.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 31 Jul 2010
    Wheelie bins from February
    By David Loughrey
    Major changes to Dunedin’s kerbside recycling will begin in February next year, with a lower than expected household cost, major benefits for at least one struggling city company, and spin-off business opportunities for others. From February 28, every residence in Dunedin will have a 240-litre wheelie bin, or an 80-litre wheelie bin for smaller properties, for non-glass recycling, while existing blue bins will be used for glass only, on alternate weeks.
    Read more

  59. Calvin Oaten

    Elizabeth; it is quite simply a solution looking for a problem which didn’t exist. Another sop to the contractors and an added impost for the ratepayers. An absolutely classic example of the inability of councillors – in this case Noone – to see through the bureaucrats snow job.
    As to how many – in fact, very many – people in this essentially hilly city will handle their 80-litre wheelie bins remains to be seen. Another decision, not urgent, which could have been left over for a perhaps more enlightened council.

    • Elizabeth

      Spot on Calvin. I’m plenty furious and as forewarned earlier somewhere on this thread I will be doing LESS recycling as a consequence of this decision. The plastic wheelie bin will be thrown back on the street in the path of a city-bound Maori Hill tractor. RIP

  60. Richard


    If you go back to my comments early in this thread (at the end of last year), you will find that we pretty much have an overall outcome that (Fliss and) I foresaw and ‘battled for’, especially the availability of options including different sized wheelies/bins.

    While it is not in this morning’s ODT report, your apartment block can, for example, have ‘a communal’ wheelie bin for your recyclables other than glass bottles and jars.

    Households that have more glass bottles and jars than one blue bin can accommodate will be able to buy an extra bin and so on.

    There is also a free-of-charge provision for ‘backdoor collection’ for those who are disabled or elderly.

    And so on.

    The expensive ($200+) original and inflexible proposal with the two 240L wheelie bins etc is no more. (I cannot resist noting that the saving will more than offset another rating levy – no prizes for guessing what).

    The council has not repeated the Christchurch error of setting itself up with a $25 million liability for an expensive MIRF recycling facility.

    Instead we have ‘a partnership’ of collection and recycling etc that combines national and local organisations and delivers a very, very good response to our needs. And which will ensure that the recyclable materials are recycled and not just ‘dumped’.

    Having “dug our toes in” to the original proposal, Fliss and I are quite ‘chuffed’ with the outcome.

    And we applaud the work that the staff involved have done on ‘sorting it all out’ and negotiating the contract etc, including the cost.

    Too much to hope for a wee round of applause?

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks Richard – we have a flight of concrete stairs coming into our property, the only access.

      • Elizabeth

        I’m prepared in part to accept that the waste collection system to come into effect has a greater chance of delivering more household waste from across Dunedin into recycling. That is a public good.

        Could DCC please put the wider facts out.
        Such as information about who/what recycling processes/industries will be engaged. How economical the resulting waste processing is for a city this size given the anticipated volumes and the current and projected markets for recycled materials.

        DCC probably has this sort of information available in a tidy summary report somewhere.

        As many residents said in submission the ability to customise the system to individual requirement is important. There appears to be greater ability to customise with this scheme.

        I know, you don’t design for the individual but rather the collective. In reality, how many addresses can’t accept wheelie bins? How many households don’t qualify for the ‘backdoor collection’?

        Council has appeared satisfied that 1% over the ‘status quo’ return (of public submissions) requires a system overhaul – it avoids (we’ve been told) residents being hit by the inflationary cost of the status quo ‘by tendering process’.

        From there I lose the connection to facts and balance sheet – councillors and staff have gone away to work in the dark (in enlightened fashion) until plonking the answer down in the news as fait accomplis.

        Was the process of interim council communication gagged by the competitive(?) tendering process involved? It didn’t have to be. Admittedly, there have been one or two statements from Cr Noone in the press.

        But councillors, you have constituents – did we give up or forget to drill for more information on what you were up to along the way since the hearings? Our sincere apologies for this oversight. Well, never mind – you have dished up the interim ad hoc answer to household waste collection. Not the answers to WASTE MINIMISATION, and our collective responsibility to the environment. Well done.

        Perhaps you’ve addressed this wholistically and ODT has failed to report it. It happens.

        • ### ch9.co.nz June 6, 2013 – 6:37pm
          Document should herald a new era in waste minimisation
          A document expected to be approved next week should herald a new era in waste minimisation. The DCC waste management and minimisation plan sets the policy framework to make Dunedin a zero waste city. But the plan involves work by more than just local government.

        • ### ODT Online Sat, 8 Jun 2013
          Council saving with gas
          By Rosie Manins
          Innovative use of waste gas is saving the Dunedin City Council more than $300,000 a year. It is 12 months since the council switched on its new gas-powered electricity generator at the Green Island wastewater treatment plant. In that time the council has used the generator to power its plant, and has sold excess electricity on the spot market. The treatment plant used to cost the council an average of $285,000 in electricity each year. As of this week, electricity use for the plant was $34,000 ”in credit”, DCC wastewater treatment manager Chris Henderson said. ”[This] represents a $319,000 saving in electricity costs to council for the year to date. We are really pleased with how it has worked,” he said. The generator used gas collected at the nearby Green Island landfill, as well as methane from the wastewater treatment plant, which would otherwise be wasted.
          Read more

        • ### ODT Online Mon, 10 Jun 2013
          Recycling could be extended to retail areas
          By Debbie Porteous
          Residents of Dunedin’s central business district and South Dunedin retail area could get a collection service for recyclables under a new plan to manage and minimise the city’s waste. The Dunedin City Council’s kerbside collection service for household recycling does not presently extend to those areas, although the council receives regular inquiries from residents requesting such a service. The new plan suggests investigating extending the recyclables collection service to the central and south Dunedin CBDs and developing a collection model within five years.
          Read more

        • ### ODT Online Thu, 13 Jun 2013
          Waste plan approved for public consultation
          By Debbie Porteous
          A plan for management and minimisation of Dunedin’s waste, and a list of 61 projects or activities, has been approved for public consultation. The action list was not initially going to be part of the public consultation as the activities/projects listed that are not already under way are not to be considered for funding until the 2014-15 annual planning round, and may change before then. However, infrastructure services committee chairman Cr Andrew Noone suggested it would be better to include the list, as it would probably be more understandable to most people than the high level policy that made up the plan. The plan is designed to work towards an overarching vision of Dunedin as a zero-waste city. People can make submissions on the plan during July.
          Read more

        • ### ODT Online Tue, 2 Jul 2013
          Waste management plan out for consultation
          The Dunedin City Council’s proposed waste management and minimisation plan has been released for public consultation. People have until July 29 to make a submission on the proposed plan, which is on the council’s website.
          Read more


          Dunedin City Councul – Media Release

          Tell Us Your Views on Waste…

          This item was published on 28 Jun 2013.

          The public has a chance to comment on how Dunedin should deal with its waste in the future, with the release of a proposed strategic document.
          Public submissions on the Proposed Waste Management and Minimisation Plan open on Monday and close at 4pm on 29 July.

          DCC Waste Strategy Officer Catherine Irvine says the proposed Plan took direction and guidance not only from legislation, but from stakeholders, through focus groups, and from elected members via an appointed steering group. “These contributions have come together to provide a holistic perspective of waste management and minimisation for the city. The aim is to continue to build these and other working relationships so the Plan can be owned by the community it serves.”

          Things have changed since the DCC last prepared a strategic document about waste management and minimisation, including the introduction of new services and facilities and, most significantly, the change in focus at a national level. In 2008, the Waste Minimisation Act was introduced, followed by a complete overhaul of the New Zealand Waste Strategy in 2010. The new legislation requires all territorial authorities to conduct a waste assessment in their districts and to review their operative waste management and minimisation plans. Following a review of progress, the DCC clarified its position and established the direction it wished to take in this area and the proposed Plan is now available for public feedback.

          Ms Irvine says the Plan capitalises on what the DCC already knows and does well, but it also identifies and addresses areas where improvements can be made. It also casts the net wider than just the DCC’s facilities and services, taking an overarching view of the city and encouraging engagement and participation from everyone.

          The proposed Plan presents an opportunity to consider how the DCC, waste and recycling operators, businesses and individuals can work together so Dunedin can have a zero waste future.

          Contact Waste Strategy Officer on 03 477 4000.

          DCC Link


          To read and make a submission on the Proposed Waste Management and Minimisation Plan, click on this link:

        • ### ch9.co.nz August 8, 2013 – 6:53pm
          Future era of waste minimisation
          The future of Dunedin’s waste management will be decided next week, when the DCC considers a strategy that should herald a new era in waste minimisation.

  61. In the consultation, Option C had a choice including a 40 litre, lidded, stacker bin especially for smaller properties or those with steps.
    Are householders going to have this choice?

  62. kate

    There was concern about the strength of the lids – apparently they are not very durable.

  63. The smaller bins were an essential part of Option C: they catered for residents without much space, or with steps. Without them many people, including myself, would not have supported this option. This seems to be turning into yet another Council bungle.
    And why was this change in the Option which was consulted on, not mentioned in the Council press release? With this kind of omission, it can be fairly described as propaganda. Especially when it was praised as a good deal, when a significant amount would have been saved by the unmentioned reduction in choice.

    • Elizabeth

      Alistair, then there were problem people like me (applies to all residents of the six 1930s ‘hospital doctor size’ apartments here in Pitt St) who said their kitchens (we don’t have a laundry or foyer in each lodging) can’t take the stacker bins and outside storage is negligible on the grounds of space and (micro) garden amenity.

      Always hard to find solutions that fit everybody – maybe the stacker bin option should still be available to those it suits. The stacker bins used around the Polytechnic seem robust enough but they probably don’t get thrown around by the waste management crew.

  64. kate

    I will leave it to Richard to respond

  65. Anonymous

    Catherine Irvine is one of the few people in DCC to have her head screwed on properly and knows what she is talking about.

  66. Hype O'Thermia

    I gather this isn’t about wasting money. A pity.

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