As a stockpile of the city's plastic waste grows ever
bigger, the Dunedin City Council is being warned it may have to
increase rates if returns from recycling do not improve.
The amount Dunedin people recycle has increased by a third
since a new service was introduced in 2011.
That increase, combined with the high New Zealand dollar and
a four-month stay on sending some plastics to the main
Chinese market following a crackdown on contaminants in
recyclables that has put traders off selling to China,
resulted in the council running the service at a loss last
Instead of the $264,800 revenue expected from recycling in
2012-13, the council made only $151,000.
The shortfall had to be covered from within the council's
wider waste budget.
The situation has prompted council solid waste manager Ian
Featherston to warn the council this week that although the
exchange rate was falling and new markets for the materials
were being sought, the reduced target of a $210,000 return
this financial year might also be difficult to achieve.
In that case, the kerbside recycling targeted rate would need
to be increased next year from $64 to $69, he said.
Mr Featherston said Dunedin people recycle about 30 tonnes of
material a month.
The stockpile of plastics being held had now reached about
The storage shed where it was being kept was nearly full, and
the council's contractors, who were responsible for the
storage of the material, were looking for somewhere else to
store more material.
It was hoped reports of China reviewing its position in
November were true but, thanks to publicity about the
situation, the council had also been put in touch with
several other markets for the plastics that were showing some
The report will be discussed at today's infrastructure
services committee meeting.