Auckland Council proposes major change to rubbish collection

Auckland Council is proposing changing its rubbish collection to fortnightly rather than weekly.   

The proposal has sparked fears from larger families that their current rubbish bins will overflow but Auckland Council says they have a plan for that.   

Auckland Council general manager waste solutions Parul Sood said although most households will comfortably make do with fortnightly rubbish collections, especially if they are using their food scraps bin and recycling bin correctly, the plan accounts for larger households that may struggle with a fortnightly rubbish collection.  

"If you live in an extended family situation, for example, and find your rubbish bin start to overflow regularly, you have the option of ordering a larger 240L rubbish bin from the council," Sood said.   

"You can also order an extra food scraps bin or extra recycling bin with no extra charge to your rates bill."  

Even though ordering a larger rubbish bin will cost the household slightly more than a smaller one, Sood said all ratepayers will save money if the switch to a fortnightly rubbish collection goes ahead as proposed.   

"Over the last 12 years, Aucklanders have already reduced the amount of waste they've sent to landfill by 10,000 tonnes. That's something to be incredibly proud of as it reflects solid progress towards our zero-waste goal," Sood said.   

"Research from here and abroad shows that moving to fortnightly rubbish collections motivates people to optimise the use of their three kerbside bins. We expect fortnightly collections will reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill by around 32,000 tonnes per year. This is over and above what we are already diverting through the food scraps service."   

The draft Waste Management and Minimisation Plan 2024 is currently open for public consultation until March 28 and proposes moving from weekly to fortnightly rubbish collections across Auckland from July 2026.  

Under the proposal, fortnightly rubbish collections would take place on alternate weeks to kerbside recycling, with the food scraps collection to remain a weekly service.  

If the proposal goes ahead, Auckland won't be the only area with fortnightly rubbish collections. Almost 20 councils around New Zealand have already moved to fortnightly collections, including Christchurch City Council which has been doing this for more than 15 years.  

Audits of Auckland's rubbish bins before the food scraps collection rollout show that close to two-thirds of bin contents by weight could have been diverted from landfills through recycling or composting. Only 35 percent of the contents were comprised of waste that needed to go to landfill.