Council Continues to Debate Rubbish
Okay remind me not to write satire or do stand up comedy, but in all seriousness (although that can be debated in its own right) Auckland Council is debating rubbish. More to the point the Council is debating today on how Auckland‘s rubbish is going to be dealt with from 2015.
You can check out what they are debating in today’s extraordinary Governing Body (The Council) meeting agenda, as well as looking at what the Herald and TVNZ just wrote on the scheme.
Ratepayers want cheap, simple plan, says Brewer
A top official’s likening of Auckland’s draft waste reduction plan to a Ferrari has outraged an Auckland Council member who says ratepayers would prefer a modest V6 Holden.
Councillor Cameron Brewer questioned the need for replacing the household rubbish and recycling system with a system which councillors are to resume debating today.
On the first day of the debate, Mr Brewer asked why the plan’s goal of cutting domestic waste by 30 per cent by 2018 could not be achieved without a complete overhaul.
The question was taken by infrastructure and services manager John Dragicevich.
“We could fine-tune and get an extra 10km/h out of the Morris Minor but if we put a Ferrari motor in we would get an extra 100 km/h,” he said.
The council is considering a user-pays system for rubbish collections throughout the region in 2015. Wheelie bins would be standard for collecting rubbish and recyclables
Well someone sucks at PR and it isn’t Councillor Brewer – in short bad analogy from the bureaucrats yet again.
Rubbish could become more costly for Aucklander
Aucklanders will find out today how much more they will pay for their rubbish and recycling collection under a new plan to reduce waste.
The council is looking to make the cost of rubbish disposal consistent across the super city, which means those who dump more rubbish pay more.
The idea to install a radio frequency identification tag to record the number of times the bin is lifted and emptied is outlined in the Waste Management and Minimisation Plan, which is the focus of an Auckland Council meeting at 10am today.
Look after having a think over a cup of tea and a scone (Devonshire Tea anyone?) I thought this way would be the most efficient and viable plan.
The Rubbish Idea
It is all about informed choice, so let people chose how they want their rubbish collected and disposed of.
Allow people to choose between either a 120 or 240 litre general rubbish bin that is picked up weekly (none of this fortnightly stuff as in summer with a bin full of that Christmas meat, here comes the health hazard) by the refuse collector. Whether bag or bin it is full user pays (so we get 100% cost recovery) that is determined either per bag or per lift. For the bag it is obviously pre-pay, for the bin the bill comes along attached with your rates bill (so renters also do not get stung per-se whether using a bag or bin).
Recycling should also be a choice along the following:
Opt for a 240 litre recycling bin that is picked up fortnightly as per usual.
- No recycling bin and dump it all in general refuse. Well with user pays on general refuse you are going to be stung with the extra cost of bags or bin lifts so the disincentive or incentive (which either way you look at it is there)
- No recycling from the kerbside but you decide to take your recycling to a recycling centre. Now Tauranga use to do this in which once a month we use to head to the recycling “depot” in Papamoa and drop off our glass, paper and metal into pre-arranged bins. Usually the private sector (so Cater Holt for paper, ACI for glass) would come along and empty the bins on a pre determined basis agreed with Council. In the 90′s schools had bins for dropping off your milk bottles to which the milk company (Fontera today) would come along and pick up the bottles for their recycling use – all the while the school gets a small fee (fundraising anyone) for their property being used as a depot. If you wonder would the private sector do such a thing with recycling today – I would say yes as there is money in scrap and crap. Heck if there is money to be made bagging and selling cow shit as garden food, then there is money in glass, paper, plastic (milk bottles make great petrol cans) and metal to be turned into something else. Now there is the issue of keeping the depot clean, but regular pick ups so the bins do not overflow would often be the best method. And besides we have bigger problems with general and commercial waste making a mess than a recycling collection depot.
For your compost waste, no bins please to be collected. You have a choice: general waste and get slugged in the user pays or compost the stuff like I am going to start back up again at home. Your garden and worms (and subsequently birds and cats) will love you to bits if you begun composting. Also schools and other voluntary organisations run composting workshops to get the best out of your composting. So do not slug Auckland with a bin for compost, allow us to choose as the choices are very clear-cut.
How to “take care” of the trash
Strangely enough how to deal with waste that makes it to the landfills is very easy and the First World have mastered it quite well. Its called incineration folks and we already have a mothballed power plant ready to rock and roll. Yep you heard me right; what does not get recycled, composted or used as fill can be burnt with the ashes used as bricks or other materials as pointed out in the accompanying Wiki article. The wiki article along with its references, burning the rubbish – waste to energy seems to have quite few spin offs including being better for the environment gas emission wise:
In thermal WtE technologies, nearly all of the carbon content in the waste is emitted as carbon dioxide (CO2) to the atmosphere (when including final combustion of the products from pyrolysis and gasification; except when producing bio-char for fertilizer). Municipal solid waste (MSW) contain approximately the same mass fraction of carbon as CO2 itself (27%), so treatment of 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) of MSW produce approximately 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) of CO2.
In the event that the waste was landfilled, 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) of MSW would produce approximately 62 cubic metres (2,200 cu ft) methane via the anaerobic decomposition of the biodegradable part of the waste. This amount of methane has more than twice the global warming potential than the 1 metric ton (1.1 short tons) of CO2, which would have been produced by combustion. In some countries, large amounts of landfill gas are collected, but still the global warming potential of the landfill gas emitted to atmosphere in e.g. the US in 1999 was approximately 32 % higher than the amount of CO2 that would have been emitted by combustion.
In addition, nearly all biodegradable waste is biomass. That is, it has biological origin. This material has been formed by plants using atmospheric CO2 typically within the last growing season. If these plants are regrown the CO2 emitted from their combustion will be taken out from the atmosphere once more.
Such considerations are the main reason why several countries administrate WtE of the biomass part of waste as renewable energy. The rest—mainly plastics and other oil and gas derived products—is generally treated as non-renewables.
Location for such a plant
Meremere which was designed to become a Waste to Energy Plant until the Greens stopped it (idiots) would be a good site with road, transport and power grid links all within easy reach. Basically trash goes by road or rail to Meremere, burnt, and the juice sent via the National Grid straight back up to Auckland. Simple
Southdown/Penrose has a gas fired co-generation power station (so produces power and steam for industrial use) already there connected to the National Grid and disused meat works site next door that needs major urban redevelopment. Like Meremere, Southdown sites with extremely easy reach of road, rail and power grid links but with the added bonus of having industry near by that would use the waste heat for their usage (ACI Glass being one example and only just down the road). The extra spin-off with Southdown is it is right in the middle of Auckland so no need for excessive waste transportation for incineration.
If you are concerned about the emissions from a waste to energy plant, then go read the wiki article and more to the point its references attached. It seems the developed world can handle it so we should be able to as well, because we are First or Third World folks?
Landfills = third world
Recycling, Composting and Waste to Energy = First World.
Zero Waste = near impossible as even Earth and the Sun produces some rather nasty waste from time to time (although the Universe has a knack at recycling too)
So Auckland Council, lets keep it simple please.
Oh one last thing, if we are going full user pays with the trash then you should remove the trash component from our general rates bill. I am not in the mood for paying twice for the same service…