Auckland - Auckland Waste to Resources

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Challenges

The plan was devised with a phase-in process with the goal of facilitating wide-spread changes to daily practices of waste disposal gradually. However, a phased approach means that some Aucklanders have felt the financial impact of the programme more acutely than others. Even though the initiative has provided recycling and composting services at no cost, City residents are accustomed to sending everything to the landfill. The phase-in process means that households taking part in the new waste treatment programme will sometimes be right next to households which have not yet transitioned –– the close proximity of more familiar, seemingly ‘easier’ practices makes the new zero waste programme seem burdensome. Taking a phased approach, however, allows the City to make the necessary institutional changes without rushing and identify areas for further development or research.

Actions

The Auckland Waste Management and Minimisation Plan is grounded in local networks and makes community readiness a central goal. Given that it's such a massive plan –– the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere –– Auckland has taken a phased approach. Even so, the City has already made impressive strides, reaching its 2018 in-house waste reduction target of 30% by 2014.

The plan entails switching from plastic bags to bins and introducing a pay-as-you-throw policy which makes the cost of sending waste to a landfill more visible. The cost of waste removal and treatment has historically been folded in with property taxes and paid by landowners at a flat rate –– the WMMP assigns a price to kerbside waste which corresponds to the amount and types of waste produced to a household. The WMMP reflects the environmental costs of landfills by assigning a price directly to the transportation of waste to a landfill and, at the same time, incentivises new behaviors by providing recycling and compost services at no cost.

Projected Outcomes

In working at the grassroots level, the Auckland Waste Management and Minimisation Plan has ensured that the initiative will have far-reaching and long-lasting impacts. The WMMP works to inspire individual citizens of Auckland to think more about where their waste goes after it’s put on the kerb, and then ask how they can change their habits to produce less and re-use more. With the goal of creating behavioral and cultural changes, the project's scope is actually much wider than the six-year plan itself and is designed to be scaled up.