The discussion on whether Tauranga has a ratepayer funded rubbish collection and recycling system or continues with the current private model, will be a headline item in the Long Term Plan debate.
The environment committee recommends Tauranga City Council add the collection change item to the public debate.
A staff report on the change says Tauranga residents can cut rubbish costs by $80-90 a year and improve the efficiency of the collection service by about 14 per cent if a single operator multi-bin service is used.
But not all Environment Committee members are in favour. Councillors Catherine Stewart, Rick Curach, Mayor Greg Brownless and Gail McIntosh spoke against it.
Greg voted in favour of the issue going to public consultation.
Catherine presented a picture of a person struggling up a steep drive on rubbish day with four bins, and asked where people will be able to keep four bins in a compact city.
“I know Rotorua went down this path and ratepayers there pay for the rubbish collection,” says Catherine.
She says the volume of rubbish collected in Rotorua has increased because people are just putting as much rubbish in the new bins as they can.
Chairman Steve Morris says it's because Rotorua took on Edgecumbe rubbish after the floods earlier this year.
Gail McIntosh says ratepayers can achieve better by dealing with their contractors.
Rick Curach hasn't heard any complaints about the existing regime. He's been using three bins for many years, and his neighbour uses a different contractor.
Greg says recycling is important but he doesn't think the current proposal is the best way to do it.
“Recycling is what we use to make ourselves feel virtuous when we make poor decisions about what we buy in the first place,” says Greg.
“That's about personal responsibility when making a purchase. Lots of people have sections quite capable of composting, storing up bottles and about once a year drop them off at transfer station.
“I'm not against environmental practices, I don't see this as the way to solve it. Without adequate information this will just end up being another service owned by a multi-national foreign company where all the profits go overseas – like parking.”
Committee chair Steve Morris says the council absolutely has to have the conversation with the community, with the rubbish collection as a key issue in the Long Term Plan discussions.
Rubbish collection a core council service and Tauranga City is letting the country its citizens and the environment down, says Steve.
“We have this twentieth century mind-set where we adopted back ‘92 kerbside rubbish. We were a small town back then. We are not a small town any more, we are a growing city and if we are to be a clean city we need to do better.”