Lets engage in local politics to create the great little city we know we can be. The Dunedin City Council is consulting on its 10 year plan for the city. Where will the money be spent and on what services and infrastructure.
Upon reading the plan I was astonished to see the Council has earmarked the spending for a bridge to connect the wharf area with the central city, and whilst I think this is a great plan long term it seems counter intuitive when we do not have the infrastructure currently to deal with the amount of waste our city creates. Our landfill is set to be capped in 5 years time, what will we do then?
We have ignored our zero waste city status for long enough, now is the time to act and create some change in how our resources are recovered and even how they are talked about. We talk about it as WASTE yet if it was viewed as RESOURCE we would begin to change our mindset on how it is seen and disposed or reused.
Here is the link to the page where you can find out more and make your own submission.
Below is my submission which I am putting out to the public so it can be used as you see fit. Copy and Paste away. If you want to put a submission in and feel strongly about this like I do, Please use this to help your submission. The more of us that do it, the more they will take notice.
To Whom It May Concern,
As a Dunedin resident I am concerned on numerous levels, Firstly of the current waste management being undertaken by the Dunedin City Council and the lack of commitment to the Zero waste city status that has been part of our strategy since 1997 that was meant to be achieved by 2015. We could still achieve that goal but it will take some new thought in the way we view our waste as rubbish instead of resource.
Secondly that it is deemed acceptable to spend such a large sum of money on an architectural bridge when we do not have the infrastructure in place to deal with our capacity at the present time. Our bus service needs help, as does south dunedin need protecting from climate change flooding in the future, there are many other needs this city has that should come before such a spend.
My main concern is with our waste minimisation strategy towards a zerowaste future. The current proposed solutions don’t look at actually reducing waste which would be a more cost effective and environmentally healthy solution. I believe we should be focused more on reducing the waste and minimising what goes to landfill. The waste generated in Dunedin is increasing every year and this needs serious attention. Educating and encouraging the community to be apart of the solution would be a valuable process to engage in.
In reading through the new 10 year plan for Dunedin I was surprised to only find a few sentences on the subject of waste management as you will read below in BOLD.
Most of our fees have gone up by 4%. This is mainly to cover extra costs. The biggest changes are at the DCC’s landfills. Our costs for dealing with rubbish have increased, so landfill charges for some types of waste will rise by about 25%.
We’re reviewing our weekly kerbside recycling collection service. We might end up picking up green waste like lawn clippings, or bring in wheelie bins for rubbish, but we’ll be talking to you more about this before any changes are made.
Waste management – kerbside rubbish and recycling collections and landfills.
Currently we have an offshore company that profits by landfilling, as a long term solution to waste management it is no longer a viable option. Our Green Island landfill is due to be capped in 2023, only 5 years until trucking waste to landfill is not the answer anymore, Trucking it out of Dunedin to other communities that are struggling to deal with their own waste is not a viable solution either. All of these are like plugging a drain with a sieve.
What if we decided to get innovative and create a better system that will encourage people to be more mindful of resources. Actually participating in recycling, reusing and product stewardship, whilst encouraging people to participate and lessen waste to landfill. There are so many benefits even the council can profit by creating a system that gives back, with jobs and new business opportunities to strengthen our local economy, such as bottle deposit incentives, local commercial composting facilities, remakeries and connecting communities for better resilience. There is multiple active evidence of possibilities in our New Zealand community ie: Wanaka Waste Busters, Love Food Hate Waste, We Compost, Pare Kore, Kaibosh and Foodshare, Waiheke Resources Trust and Xtreme Zero Waste in Raglan to name a few.
Lets be part of the bigger answer to a nationwide issue and global problem. We need to extend our vision further than that. As Cr Kate Wilson says in the ODT article “What’s best for city’s rubbish” Saturday April 8th 2017, “maybe we need to look at what's best for Dunedin, rather than just the financials”. Our own Waste Management and Minimisation Plan (2013) says that “Education for sustainability programmes would benefit from a more holistic DCC approach and Otago Regional Council engagement.” This conversation goes beyond the preferred financial approach into what’s best for our future as a whole.
We take, make, waste at present but let’s create, collaborate and communicate instead. We need to start looking at it as resource not waste. A change of mindset on what it contains as the Waiheke Resources Trust purpose states “We work to celebrate and protect all the resources we have already, and build capacity and knowledge in the community toward the creation of a resource-full future for all.” Dunedin can collaborate with other active NZ zero waste communities out there such as the Waiheke Resource Trust and Xtreme Zero Waste.
“Xtreme Zero Waste is a community enterprise, using business as a tool to meet the needs of our community. Xtreme Zero Waste is contracted by Waikato District Council to operate weekly kerbside collections and the Raglan Resource Recovery Centre. At approximately 75% diversion from landfill, we are turning Raglan’s waste into resources and moving forward to zero waste.”
Moving towards these goals as a whole city community and council engaging and inspiring innovation towards a more circular economy with design led solutions. Those actively involved in looking at the long term solution of actual waste management are already paving a way forward using transformative system change - “Working with communities to empower them rather than to change them” Rob Comber - University of Newcastle -
“The current economic system is linear and ends in a landfill. In a circular economy you design your way out of a need to dump” Daniel Kristensen. There are many examples of what's possible both in New Zealand and overseas. For instance in Japan: The residents of Kamikatsu, a town of 1,700, sort their trash into 34 different categories, 80% gets recycled but by 2020 their goal is to be completely zerowaste. Cutting the cost by ⅓ to when they were incinerating. “If you get used to it, it becomes normal,” a Kamikatsu resident says in the video. “Now I don’t think about it. It’s become natural to separate the trash correctly.”
At the moment the waste management system is Conventional. The system becomes Green when the recyclables are separated out. It becomes Sustainable when we get all the waste being composted and the recyclables separated out. We become Restorative when we actually use the waste to create value with business and employment opportunities. Regeneration happens when we give back to the environment. Having a landfill situated in an estuary is an ecological disaster waiting to happen in itself and goes against all of the systemic requirements for a healthy human interaction with our environment..
I have been a resident of Dunedin for 37 years and my family has been here for 3 generations, I also Whakapapa to Moitoitoi 1212. I believe it is possible to achieve the zero waste intent we have set in Dunedin’s Waste Minimisation and Management Plan. Utilising the central government's Waste Minimisation Fund to encourage participation and innovation to design and create a system that best suits Dunedin’s community. If this is the future of Dunedin I would be very excited to get involved in the new outlook and I believe it will benefit Dunedin, Otago, its residents and surrounding environs immensely.
88 Vogel St
Fiona Clements. Pakeha, Kai Tahu, Craftivist, Sustainable Fashion and Zerowaste Textile Practitioner. Conscious Consumer advocate.