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Room for rubbish is running out in Wellington

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

With only four years left until the Southern Landfill is full, it’s time to talk about what we do with our waste next.

The Southern Landfill is critical to the smooth-running of our city and providing infrastructure for Wellington’s sanitation and ensuring public health. Currently the landfill accepts about 100,000 tonnes of waste per annum, including 15,000 tonnes of sewage sludge, which is transported to the landfill by pipe from Moa Point. It funds $6 million of waste minimisation and recycling services every year, and provides resilience for waste disposal in the event of a natural disaster or major contamination incident.

Based on current estimates, and not accounting for an extraordinary event like a natural disaster, the Southern Landfill has approximately four years of capacity left.

The Southern Landfill is currently operating in Stage 3 of its multi-stage development, with the proposed extension (Stage 4) set to provide an additional 2.5 million m3 of landfill.

The Council is recommending extending the landfill as the best way forward, but would like to test this assumption by looking at what alternatives are around.

The alternatives that will be looked at include closing the Southern Landfill; building a waste-to-energy plant; or using biological processes.

Waste Operations Manager Emily Taylor Hall is looking forward to engaging with the community and stakeholders to consider the proposal and options.

"We know that attitudes towards waste are changing and disposing of waste will be different in the future, but we believe landfilling is still the most viable solution in the meantime," she says.

"We are already investigating what’s available to see how and if we can invest in alternative technology. This will be part of the conversation we have when we meet with the local community and stakeholders over the next 8 months."

Wellington City Council is committed to reducing waste. Regionally its target is to reduce waste from 600kg per person per year to 400kg per person by 2026. That still leaves the city with significant waste that needs to be managed.

This work is part of Council’s Resilience and Environment priority set out in the 10-year plan to invest in the city’s environment and key infrastructure.

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