Auckland Inorganic Collections

As part of its 10-year budget, Auckland Council is funding a new region-wide inorganic collection service that will mean Auckland can reuse and recycle as many items as possible.

From September, the new inorganic service will be annual and will need to be booked in advance. Items will be collected from within your property. 

How the new system will work:
1. We’ll send you a flyer when it’s time to book your inorganic collection.
2. If you have items you want collected, book a collection on our website, call us or visit a service centre.
3. We’ll let you know when the items will be picked up.
4. We’ll pick up the items from your property, diverting as much as we can for re-use and recycling. You can put out one cubic metre of material – about as much as a small trailer load.

The new system is a key part of Auckland Council’s Waste Management and Minimisation Plan, which was adopted after consultation in 2011 and 2012.

It will help give people’s trash a new life as treasure. Instead of going to landfill, items like your old bike, fridge or furniture will be diverted to charities and a developing network of community recycling centres.

This will be better for the community and the environment, and will help Auckland achieve its aspirational goal of zero waste by 2040.

Visit our inorganic rubbish page to find out more.


Celebrating sustainable schools

Celebrating sustainable schools.

Several Auckland kindergartens and schools received awards for outstanding commitment to sustainability at the Enviroschools celebration held in December.

Deputy Mayor Penny Hulse presented the Enviroschools certificates at the ceremony, with Albany Ward Councillor Wayne Walker, Waitākere Ward Councillor Linda Cooper and local board representatives.

“Enviroschools teaches important life skills,” says Councillor Hulse. “It shows children they can become environmental leaders of the future by taking action and making a difference in their community.”

The Enviroschools programme is facilitated in Auckland by Auckland Council and the Enviroschools Foundation. It helps children with projects such as recycling, water conservation, planting native gardens and increasing local biodiversity.

This article first appeared on Auckland Council


Pollution doubles near Auckland motorways

Researchers say preventing people from living within 20m of highways would reduce health risks.
The Southern Motorway near Otahuhu, where pollution levels have been measured. Photo / Richard Robinson
The Southern Motorway near Otahuhu, where pollution levels have been measured. Photo / Richard Robinson

People who live beside Auckland’s Southern Motorway are subjected to air pollution at nearly double the level of those 130m further away, research shows.

The researchers suggest looking at preventing people from living within 20m of motorways and building more walls to separate the roadways from homes, children’s facilities and businesses.

Fixed and bicycle-mounted measuring instruments, used in autumn and winter in Otahuhu, detected pollution levels that peaked beside the motorway from 7am to 9am, coinciding with the morning commuter rush.

The researchers, from Canterbury University’s geography department and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, found similarly high levels of pollution along Princess St, which feeds the motorway, and several other areas of high traffic volume.

Potentially of most concern is their finding of a morning peak of around 140,000 “ultrafine” particles of pollution per cubic centimetre of air.

These particles, a 10,000th of a millimetre in diameter, can penetrate deep into the lungs. Particulate air pollution is associated with lung disease and heart problems.

However, the researchers did not investigate the health effects of air pollution and note that their findings cannot be compared with national air pollution standards because of different measuring methods.

They say in the journal Atmospheric Environment that when their data on larger particles and carbon monoxide gas are included, across the study’s four daily measurement times, arterial roads with traffic lights appeared to have a greater influence on pollution levels than the busier but more free-flowing motorways.

Beside the Southwestern Motorway in Mangere Bridge, the study’s other suburb, the morning peak of ultrafine particle pollution levels was lower than in Otahuhu. In both suburbs, ultrafine particle pollution levels were generally much lower away from the heavy traffic flows.

Some of the houses near high pollution points in Otahuhu are just 5m from the edge of the motorway, said one of the researchers, Dr Woodrow Pattinson.

“Many of the homes are older, from the 1950s, 60s and 70s and don’t have double glazing. They have fairly high rates of infiltration of outdoor air. The indoor air is often as bad as what it is outside. In modern apartments with filtration systems it wouldn’t be as much of a concern. It’s difficult because people need to live somewhere and there is a housing shortage. The best thing we can do for now is to not have sensitive population groups living there.”

He said some restrictions were imposed on locating childcare centres near busy roads but he was not aware of any residential housing controls. Some researchers now advocated a buffer zone of 100m between homes and main roads.

Co-researcher Professor Simon Kingham urged authorities to consider not allowing people to live within 20m of main highways.

Dr Pattinson said noise walls helped “to deflect the plume of pollution”.

“It would be great if we could have greenbelts or use the land for industrial buildings that properly protect the people inside,” he said.

“It is important not to overstate the issue either as Auckland is very coastal so the wind usually flushes out a large proportion of these toxic fumes. However, under certain atmospheric conditions the influence of the motorways is fairly strong.”

The study also involved interviews with 104 residents of the two suburbs.

Dr Pattinson said a number of people were worried about “children and family members suffering long-term illnesses because of the polluted air around them”.

Who did the study?
Canterbury University and the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

What did they do?
They measured levels of carbon monoxide and tiny particles of air pollution that can cause asthma attacks, bronchitis and heart problems.

At fixed sites and from bicycles near the motorways in Otahuhu and Mangere Bridge and in the surrounding streets.

What were the main findings?
The highest median level of ultrafine particles from the repeated bike samples was around 140,000 particles per cubic centimetre of air during the morning traffic rush beside the Southern Motorway and in Otahuhu.

NZ Herald


Auckland must prepare for climate change – scientist

Aucklanders need to prepare for the wide-ranging impacts that climate change will have on their city, a leading scientist says.

Independent climate scientist Dr Jim Salinger, author of the book Living In a Warmer World, will explain what climate change will mean for New Zealand’s largest city in a public lecture at AUT University tomorrow evening.

Dr Salinger believed there was not enough awareness of what several degrees of warming — and potentially more than a metre of sea level rise — within this century could mean for Aucklanders, as well as all Kiwis.

“In my personal view, people who live on the coast are not aware — but when their homes become uninsurable, they’ll be very aware.”

According to present projections, the mean temperature in New Zealand could be 2C higher by the end of the century — and even between 3C and 4C higher if no action is taken to curb the world’s carbon emissions.

Within the same period, sea level was expected to rise between 50cm and 120cm, leaving populations to adapt by either abandoning coasts and islands, changing infrastructure and coastal zones, or protecting areas with barriers or dykes.

Already, temperatures in Auckland had warmed by 1C over the last 100 years, while sea level rise from 1899 to 2014 was in the order of 18 cm, Dr Salinger said.

A report on sea level rise by Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Dr Jan Wright said the impact of even a small rise in sea level would be significant and very costly for some landowners.

Storms occurring on top of a higher sea level would affect public infrastructure such as roads, railways and stormwater systems, as well as private homes and other buildings.

Climate change was also expected to result in more large storms compounding the effects of sea level rise.

The major coastal floods that Auckland experienced in 1936 and 2011 — the latter flooding downtown shops, homes and roads — would occur about once every decade, according to Niwa projections.

If climate change continued unabated, that frequency could increase to each year.

“Just think about what happened in April this year, where there was flooding on the northwestern motorway and Tamaki Drive. That would become commonplace,” Dr Salinger said.

“We really have to be thinking now about how we plan cities — including where people are and what they’ll need to do — because these sorts of things take a while to implement.”

In another impact Dr Salinger will address, Auckland would feel the effect of climate change on Pacific nations, which he considered New Zealand’s “front yard”.

He said the risk of displacement and relocation from Pacific islands was a reality, and building capacity for an influx of new residents in Auckland now should be a priority.

Auckland Pacific communities would also need to be strong to accommodate migrants and assist those remaining in the islands.

Dr Salinger noted how New Zealand’s 20,000-strong Niuean population, mainly in Auckland, raised funds and provided volunteers to help in Niue in the wake of the devastating Cyclone Heta in 2004.

Industries would also see change.

Hayward kiwifruit production may become uneconomic in Auckland over the next 50 years, due to a lack of winter chilling, while sub-tropical crops such as avocados and citrus would benefit from a trend towards warmer average conditions.

Some tropical fruit crops could presently be grown in localised micro-climates in Auckland, but it was likely that opportunities for these crops would increase, he said.

A warmer climate might change where wine production could be based around the region, but would also bring more pest and disease pressure.

Rising ocean temperatures and ocean acidification was also altering marine life, moving fisheries southward, threatening shell fisheries, and changing life cycles.

But Dr Salinger said climate warming was just one of several pressures on fisheries, and reducing fishing pressure could only help the situation.

His talk, part of the Auckland Conservations series, will be held from 5.30pm tomorrow, December 4, at the Sir Paul Reeves Building lecture theatre, Governor Fitzroy Pl.

NZ Herald


Stay green this Christmas

Stay green this Christmas.

Over the summer holidays, Aucklanders throw away about 30 per cent more rubbish than usual. You can help reduce this by:

  • using reusable shopping bags
  • recycling wrapping paper (except foil and cellophane wrapping) or using reusable gift bags
  • choosing an artificial Christmas tree (visit our website for advice on disposing of cut trees)
  • separating toy packaging and recycling the cardboard, or choosing non-packaged gifts
  • composting food scraps
  • using your nearest recycling point while on holiday, or taking recycling home.

Visit our Make The Most Of Waste website for more tips and information.

Source: Auckland City Council


The Energy-Smart Home: How much is your home costing you?

Adding up the running costs of a house over the average term of a mortgage makes investing in energy efficiency the proverbial no-brainer.
The re-configurable Samsung Home Smart Home, at the Viaduct earlier this month, showcased sustainable and cheaper options for the home.  Photo / Supplied
The re-configurable Samsung Home Smart Home, at the Viaduct earlier this month, showcased sustainable and cheaper options for the home. Photo / Supplied

Earlier this month, on the wharf outside the Viaduct Events Centre, Samsung threw open the doors of its Home Smart Home – a re-configurable bach designed by architectural whizz-kids Jasmax, and stuffed with appliances that use just a fraction of the electricity and water that your appliances at home manage to plough though.

Electricity, gas and water bills are no longer just a minor bump in the monthly financial road. For most they now have to be seriously budgeted for.

It begs the question: when we buy a home, why don’t we measure its running costs? The average home in New Zealand uses around 25kWh of electricity each day, equating to just under $2500 worth of power each year. Multiply that by 25 years, the term of the average mortgage: $62,500, and consider that this cost doesn’t take into account the inevitable and depressing annual price rises.
Energy efficiency

First things first. Energy efficiency is key. In a recent report from the World Future Council on how San Francisco can reach 100% renewable energy, a full 50% of the means to achieve it came down to energy efficiency. And so it is with your home. The ‘Zero Energy Home’ in Point Chevalier, Auckland requires no gas or electricity for heating, relying solely on a concrete pad which absorbs heat when the sun is shining, and slowly releasing it again in the evening when it is required. This, combined with good insulation and smart ventilation, means that a heat source simply isn’t required. While installing a concrete pad may not be possible unless you’re building or renovating, insulation can be installed, and draught-proofing can be carried out. Double glazing can also be retrofitted, the advantages of which include being warmer in winter and cooler in summer, reducing condensation and cutting noise.
Insulation and heating

Before boosting your heating system, carry out energy efficiency measures and you’ll find you might need a unit with a smaller heating capacity. When you consider that (electrical) space heating makes up almost a third of the average power bill, it’s worth getting the smaller model. In descending order, choose passive solar options, wood or pellet burners, heat pumps or flued gas heaters. Avoid panel heaters, oil-filled column heaters and especially unflued gas heaters.

It’s going to cost you the guts of $7000 – $10,000 to do it right, but solar photo voltaic (PV) panels are going to cut a swath through your power bill. Wait until you’ve made your home energy efficient and re-measure your power use before choosing what size array you need. Get a slightly larger inverter than your panels need, because in future you may want to add more panels to charge your electric vehicle. Provided you choose the right-sized array for your needs, PV should pay itself off within eight years.

Water heating

Another third of your energy is used for heating your hot water.

Fortunately the days of the traditional hot water cylinder are drawing to a close, as they are being bullied out of existence by their radically more efficient successors. Top of the list are heat pump water heaters, which will immediately slash your water heating bill by up to two thirds and can be installed for as little as $2500.

Solar hot water, effective and efficient while the sun is shining, is nonetheless expensive to install so has a relatively long pay-off time. Gas hot water, whether through storage systems, or ‘on demand’ systems, come next for efficiency, but rely on fossil fuels.

Looking at replacing the old electric cylinder? Check out these alternative hot-water systems.

Electronics take up around 18 per cent of power usage. If you have solar power, charge all your mobile devices during the day. Turn off appliances at night, as left on standby they are just wasted money.

Appliances with the Blue Energy Star mark are among the top ten per cent for efficiency. Refrigeration takes around 11% of the electricity used in your home. Over the 15-year life of a fridge, an efficient model will more than pay for itself.

Ever burnt your hand on a bulb? That’s wasted energy, converted into heat rather than light. It’s also why lighting makes up eight per cent of your energy use. Changing your bulbs to LED models will save 80% of that energy and last for years. Over the life of the bulb, it will save around $110 dollars, dwarfing the initial investment.

Aucklanders use an average of 175 litres of water per person per day, or almost 64,000 litres per year. At $1.34 for 1000 litres of water, that’s $85.76.

However we are charged not only for the water which comes onto our properties, but also for the waste water which leaves it. This is charged at $2.28 per 1000 litres, which adds another $146 to bring the total to $231 per person, per year.

An average home in New Zealand has 2.5 people, which brings the water bill to $462 – leaving out the $190 fixed charge, which nothing can be done about. Again, extrapolated over a 25-year mortgage, water charges are likely to be over $11,000, with a further $5000 of fixed charges (and ignoring any future, almost inevitable, rises in water charges).
Quick water tips:

Install a rainwater collection system, if only for use on your garden

Re-use dishwater: Pour washing-up water (provided you have used an eco-friendly detergent) over your flower beds – it will help eliminate garden pests

Install a dual-flush toilet cistern: Also install a low-flow shower head – the best models will save 50% of your water use.

Repair perished washers: Dripping taps can waste up to 90 litres of water per week.

Apply good mulch around trees: Up to 73% of garden water evaporates before plants absorb it.

This editorial series is made possible with funding from Energy Alternatives. To find out more about energy efficient products visit

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Source: NZHerald


Event: Solar NZ 2040 in Auckland

Solar NZ 2040 is on at the Auckland Museum on November 7 & 8.
Solar NZ 2040 is on at the Auckland Museum on November 7 & 8.

ELEMENT PROMOTION: Solar NZ 2040 is being held at the Auckland War Memorial Museum Events Centre, in the Auckland Domain on November 7 and 8.

The conference host, the Sustainable Electricity Association of New Zealand (SEANZ), concentrates on driving the growth of onsite renewable electricity generation in New Zealand.

SEANZ have selected industry leaders for the conference including keynote speaker Simon Troman (Managing Director, IT Power, Australia), who will discuss how disruptive solar PV has been in Australia, with 20% of its buildings using solar PV – in the context of a government moving to reduce renewable energy targets.

Speakers will explore what New Zealand’s newly-elected government will mean for the solar PV industry. with three Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and Electricity Authority (EA) officials presenting their positions.

Speaker topics will include:

• The solar industry’s plan for New Zealand to 2040 – vision and numbers: Brendan Winitana (Chairman, SEANZ) will provide an update of important numbers, growth, analysis and the industry’s latest position.

• Solar power case studies featuring Reid Technology: David Reid will speak about the Samoa Racecourse solar farm.

• Leadership and success in business: Jan Nicol (Managing Director, Sharp Corporation) presents a how-to guide for getting ahead in business.

• What’s next in the solar PV space? A “panel-of-four” – a leading New Zealand solar PV academic, a lines company manager, a solar PV system integrator and a technical whiz kid – will present the benefits and value of neural networks (and a definition).

• The Technology Stream: Hear from three leading suppliers about new developments and their impact.

• The new SEANZ ABB Industry Awards Event: Recognising excellence in the solar industry. Join key players in the industry – inverter companies, engineering companies, regional councils, national government and building-integrated PV manufacturers and designers – to network and celebrate the industry.

If you are looking to invest in solar power and renewable energy sources or are already involved in the industry, Solar NZ 2040 is where you want to be on November 7-8.

For more information please refer to and book here

This article is an Element Advertising Promotion.

Source: NZ Herald


Council dumps rubbish in square to highlight recycling ignorance

A truckload of household rubbish was tipped at the foot of Auckland Town Hall yesterday to show not all residents are doing their bit to cut the amount of household refuse being buried in a landfill.

Auckland Council arranged for the contents of 35 recycling bins to go on display in Aotea Square to back up its claims that 10 per cent of material put in recycling bins is rubbish.

Councillor George Wood said the public airing in Aotea Square showed that many people did not know what should be put out for recycling. Mixed rubbish and material for recycling went to the dump and was costing the council more than $1 million a year in charges, said Mr Wood, who is chairman of the regional strategy and policy committee.

It has approved an education campaign to try to stop plastic bags, meat trays, food waste, clothing and batteries being mixed with glass, plastics, paper and cans, which can be processed.

Many thought polystyrene meat trays were recyclable, when they were not.

Solid waste manager Ian Stupple said the council planned to spread “pay as you throw” across the region over the next few years.

Under the plan, all residents would pay per lift according to the volume of the refuse receptacle used, while the cost of collecting true recyclable items and organic waste would come out of council rates.

On the web:

NZ Herald


Funding to help reduce waste

The council’s Waste Minimisation and Innovation Fund (WMIF) aims to generate new ideas and support existing projects that contribute to our aspirational goal of zero waste by 2040.

We are now calling for businesses, community groups, schools and iwi to bring us their great ideas for reducing waste.

In the October 2013 funding round, the Diabetes Project Trust, based in Ōtara, received $10,724 from WMIF to teach composting courses to 125 refugee families.

Solid Waste Manager Ian Stupple says Aucklanders have already proved they have plenty of energy and enthusiasm for waste reduction, and an impressive range of fresh, new ideas.

“Since the fund launched last year, Aucklanders have shown a real flair for innovation in finding new ways to reduce, reuse and recycle waste.

“With the help of the WMIF fund, many groups are making progress that will go a long way towards helping us achieve our aspirational goal of ‘zero waste’ to landfill by 2040. It is an important part of our journey towards making Auckland the world’s most liveable city.”

WMIF applications close on 31 October. Get more information.


Source: Auckland Council


Rubbish collection to go hi-tech across Auckland

Microchip bins to be trialled in effort to standardise service across Auckland.

A new “pay-as-you-throw” system featuring microchipped waste bins is being proposed to standardise rubbish collection across Auckland.

Householders will be issued with council rubbish bins, which will replace rubbish bags and stickers used in several legacy council areas.

Under the new system aimed at reducing waste, households would be charged only when the rubbish bins were cleared.

Council spokesman Glyn Walters said the initiative was part of the Waste Management and Minimisation Plan.

“One of the key goals … is to create a consistent Auckland Council rubbish collection service across the region,” he said.

Currently households in North Shore and Waitakere pay $2.25 for each 60-litre rubbish bag they put out.

In Papakura, the cost is $1.95 while those living in the Franklin area pay $2.20 for a rubbish sticker to place on bags purchased separately.

Central and South Auckland residents have their rubbish collections fully funded by rates.

Rodney residents do not receive council service for rubbish collection and have to use private service providers.

Ian Stupple, Auckland Council’s solid waste manager, said the new bins would come with microchips.

The collection trucks would be able to record each time a bin was cleared and households would be charged through their accounts.

“The idea is that … it’s done on a pay-per-lift basis, so if you put out the bin then you pay for it and if you don’t then you obviously don’t,” Mr Stupple said.

“There’s potential to offer different sized bins for households and it’s charged only when it’s emptied.”

The proposed charge was $2.50 for an 80-litre bin, about the same rate households currently paid.

Mr Stupple said the new system was expected to be introduced by 2016 but details were still being worked out.

It is unclear whether Aucklanders whose rubbish collection is currently paid through their rates would get a rates reduction under the proposed system to offset the user pays charge.

There would also be a new food waste collection service and a better recycling service, he said.

A 14-week food rubbish trial is currently being run on the North Shore where 2000 households were given 23-litre bins for collection.

It is estimated that an average Auckland resident sends 80kg of organic waste to landfills each year.

The cost: Present system
• $2.25 – North Shore, Waitakere (60-litre bag)
• $1.95 – Papakura
• $2.20 – Franklin (rubbish sticker)
• Fully funded by rates – Central and South Auckland
• No council service – Rodney
(source: Auckland Council).

NZ Herald