Dunedin city councillors will decide next week which of two
new landfill charging regimes the public should be consulted
The options are a weighbridge or a more refined version of
the present charging structure, based on item or vehicle
Under the first option, users would be charged by the weight
of the waste they want to dump.
Under the second, they would continue to be charged by bag or
vehicle size, with the addition of specified fees for wool
sacks, wheelie bins and part-loads.
The weighbridge option would be more consistent and fair, but
would mean some users would pay more, and some less, council
water and waste manager Laura McElhone said in a report
councillors will discuss on Tuesday.
For example, an assessment of 21 cars with rubbish recently
weighed as part of an audit at the Green Island landfill,
showed 14 would have paid less and seven would have paid more
over a weighbridge, than the present car charge of $18.
The car with the smallest load in the test (40kg) would have
been charged the proposed minimum fee of $5.20 and the car
with the heaviest load (260kg) would have been charged
In both options, fees would be based on the fact it cost $130
per tonne for the council to dispose of the waste deposited
at the landfill.
A weighbridge was not expected to increase the overall
revenue and would still require some booth operator
discretion to determine whether loads consisted of general
waste, 100% vegetation or mixed vegetation. Vegetation loads
would be charged at a lower rate.
The $150,000 cost of the weighbridge could be covered by
deferring some landscaping work at the landfill for a year.
Alternatively, by adding new fees for wool sacks, wheelie
bins and partial loads, further training booth operators to
be consistent in their application of the revised fee
structure, and educating the public about minimising their
waste, the fairness of the present fee structure could be
improved, Dr McElhone said.
However, if the revenue level was to be maintained, the fee
for a ''full load'' would need to be increased to cover a
lower ''part load'' fee, meaning people who deposited
''average'' loads would pay more.
She said there was a philosophical argument to be had with
regards to whether weight or volume was the more appropriate
approach to charging.
That was based around which was more representative of the
environmental impact of waste and which was more
representative of the proportion of operating costs
associated with the load.
Staff considered weight to be the better approach, because
Government reporting and waste levies were based on tonnes.
Volume was difficult because things were compressed in the
landfill and there was no reliable way to accurately measure
volume. Weight-based charging allowed for a differential to
encourage or discourage certain materials, she said.
Staff recommended councillors approve the weighbridge option
and include it in the draft 2014-15 budget.
The public has the opportunity to make submissions on
anything in the budget between March 15 and April 15.