The pastor’s grand plan for rubbish

Bruce Adams observed the problem and provided a solution. Photo: Bruce Barnard.

It fixed the “disjointed and inefficient” rubbish collection system that bedeviled the North Sydney Shire of Hornsby. And Tauranga man Bruce Adams says it could fix Tauranga's problems.

“Exactly the same issues for both,” says Bruce of Hairini. He's talking duplication of services, low levels of recycling and high rubbish disposal costs for consumers.

“I'm concerned about God's planet and how we look after it. And I don't think we are doing a very good job,” says the retired electronics engineer who studied divinity in Sydney and became a church pastor. 

“Hornsby council took control of the problem, showed some leadership,” says Bruce who lived in the Hornsby shire for 15 years. Basically the shire rated households into a more responsible environmental attitude.

“One day we got a letter from council saying this is what we're going to do – implement an annual rate per household to deal with the rubbish-recycle problem once and for all.”

And each householder was given three bins – a red one for landfill rubbish collected weekly, a yellow bin for recycling, collected every second week and a green bin for compostable waste, food scraps and garden waste, collected alternate weeks between yellow bin collections.

Bins are only put out if more than half full. And on any one week, only two trucks visit a street.

“Fully-automated trucks are used,” says Bruce. “So it's a fast, efficient and safe system and the driver doesn't have to leave the cab. Most importantly, every household has been encouraged to recycle and deal with compostable waste. And there are no bags.”  

Bruce is putting up the Hornsby strategy as a possible solution to Tauranga's problems after ferreting through his neighbour's rubbish in Wickham Place – figuratively speaking - not scavenging but researching.

He's concerned watching at least seven different rubbish and recycling company trucks plying their business in his small cul-de-sac each week, each collecting its own waste and recycle bins or bags.

“Not only is this a huge overkill for just 50 households who occupy this street, it is hugely inefficient.” And he made it his business to also do some counting and make some observations.

Of the approximately 50 households in Wickham Place, Hairini, six use JR Richards, two use Kleena Bins and five use Enviro Green Bins. One resident burns all their rubbish. Ten households have yellow recycling bins, two have green waste bins and the rest use special issue black plastic bags – averaging 10 a week.

“I look at the bags – people put everything into the bags. People tell me they do that.”

Then to gather all that garbage, seven trucks visit Wickham Place one week, and three the next. And from those figures he says it can be safely assumed that fewer than 25 per cent of households are recycling. “That doesn't take into account those who take their recyclables directly to the transfer station – but I would think not many.”

Steve Morris is the chair of Tauranga City Council's environment committee – the politician charged with sorting the city's rubbish problems. He's well aware of the issues and says Bruce is spot on. “His observations are repeated in every street across the city.”

Steve says as well as the kerbside rubbish, the high amount of construction and trade waste is also of concern. “We are presently working up some options for the community to consider next year, including a rates-funded service.” Maybe the North Sydney shire of Hornsby plan.

Then we pay for all those trucks to cart the rubbish over the Kaimai range to a landfill – 78 trucks a week.  “Why aren't we dealing with our rubbish here?” says Bruce Adams. “Why are we spending good money to send our problem to someone else to deal with? That doesn't excite me much.” Especially when 69.3 per cent of the waste composition in our wheelie bins and rubbish bags could be recycled or composted.

What did get Bruce Adams excited was the Shire of Hornsby visitor weeks where ratepayers were taken on a bus tour to the transfer station to see what happened to their rubbish. “See how they separate aluminium, metal, tin, paper, plastic, glass – then turn it back into useable stuff again. That's exciting.”

And here in Tauranga it goes to a landfill. “Disgusting isn't it,” says Bruce.


The Council

Posted on 25-09-2017 06:34 | By Blessed

I wonder how many rubbish companies will b up in arms about this when the council manages to change it. Dont think they havent considered this idea, they have. You can find some if that info on reports Eunomia consultants done. Some rate payers even had issues with a rates funded system. especial if they were already low producers. I say put it in place, but u NEED to have a seperate glass bin.


Posted on 22-09-2017 20:47 | By maunganui

Mr Morris you have been in office how many years and done sweet fanny adams about a rubbish truck dupplication on our streets, why wait till next year, do something about it before Xmass 2017 not 2019.Get of your butt and fix what you were elected for and stop being a PR media spokes person for bungled council mistakes.

Whakatane an example

Posted on 22-09-2017 16:09 | By elldee

We can only recycle a small amount of plastic - its annoying not to be able to recycle ice cream containers yogurt pots and margarine containers. Our council only need look as far as Whakatane and the great job they do there. There is no cost to the householder ( presume in the rates ) and includes glass - other recycling - green waste and landfill bins and apparently the council makes revenue from it. We need to look at this and get those polluting trucks off the road although I realise a hard thing to take away someones livelihood.


Posted on 22-09-2017 15:27 | By

Great Bruce - other councils in NZ also do this. We pay twice here for rubbish - once to the council and then again to the collectors!!!

Davy B

Posted on 22-09-2017 14:19 | By dybryan

Excellent suggestion, good common sense approach. I would welcome this here in Papamoa where we can see up to 8 trucks in our street each Tuesday

Some good common sense here.

Posted on 22-09-2017 13:32 | By morepork

The fact that we even need to employ a rubbish service shows that Council has abnegated this responsibility and it isn't covered by our Rates. The problem would be in moving from the chaotic system used at present and described above, into the more rational system that Bruce would like. You can't stop private companies from trading, and the one I use does a very good job, but if the Council service was more efficient, cleaner and simpler, and it was included in the rates, then most people would probably vote with their feet. TCC probably are very happy NOT to be involved, but maybe they SHOULD look at what is suggested here. It would certainly encourage better recycling and Eco-friendliness than is currently the case.

Not rubbish

Posted on 22-09-2017 13:18 | By rastus

Your correspondent is not really talking rubbish (pun intended) The air is alive at the end of each week with the noise of a collection of collection trucks of all sizes and colours picking up 'waste' from around our area - a most illogical and expensive exercise. In our case being a right of way section we had to place our bags out on the kerb side for collection while hopefully the local stray dogs did not attack it and force us to go out with a barrow to cleanup and so the rental of a steel drum which would be collected from its filling point made so much sense and the cost not that much different than the councils over the top charges - a uniform system that works should not really be such a problem for the pointy heads to solve!

Spot on

Posted on 22-09-2017 13:00 | By normal local

I think there would be very few people that disagree with Bruce.It does seem silly that there are so many rubbish trucks following each other around.What needs to be addressed is business that don't do their part with recycling.I know there are various large organisations (i.e banks) who have nice recycling bins that people split their rubbish in only to have the cleaner come through and empty all of the bins into the same rubbish bag to take it away. That is just stupid.

Finally someone making sense...

Posted on 22-09-2017 12:55 | By White_Knight

Go Bruce... Great idea


Posted on 22-09-2017 12:43 | By Gigilo

There is far to much money being made out of waste collection and disposal for anybody to want to change the present goings on. There is a solution but for that to manifest, waste has to be seen and treated as a resource.

Tauranga dump a disgrace

Posted on 22-09-2017 12:10 | By The Tomahawk Kid

The Tauranga councils rubbish dump is a disgrace. The amount of stuff thrown in to the landfill with no chance of recycling is a tragedy. Here in Hawkes Bay a huge amount of the things people take to the dump are placed into a shop area and the public are welcome to collect and pay a gold coin donation for anything they want. A huge amount of it is saved from the landfill, and they get PAID for it. The Tga dump used to be like that

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