Some operators abusing payment system

A second weighbridge at the Green Island landfill could help stop ''skimming'' of the system by some commercial operators using the Dunedin City Council-owned facility, councillors have been told.

Council solid waste manager Ian Featherston told councillors yesterday some commercial rubbish skip operators had been arriving at the Green Island landfill with skips full of rubbish, disguised by a small layer of green waste on top.

That allowed them to avoid the higher charges for their rubbish loads, by instead being charged a lower rate for a skip full of green waste, he said.

Asked by Cr Hillary Calvert how common the practice was, Mr Featherston said: ''It's rife in the commercial sector.''

Other operators took a different approach, by insisting on using the existing commercial weighbridge whenever they had light, bulky loads, such as branches, he said.

However, when the same operators brought heavier loads, such as grass clippings, to the landfill, they insisted on paying the per-load booth charges - which also worked out cheaper for them, he said.

''It's a bit of a flaw in our current charging model, so that's where we are trying to close the loop,'' he said.

The council had already responded by introducing a new 100% green waste charge and increasing the cost of a mixed load, to encourage them to separate their loads, he said.

However, installation of a second weighbridge - requiring all landfill users to have their rubbish weighed to calculate charges - would be a fairer approach for all users, he said.

The cost of the second weighbridge was now expected to be $110,000, not $150,000 as previously estimated, and - if approved - would be paid for from within existing budgets, council infrastructure and services general manager Tony Avery told the meeting.


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