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New Zealand - Waste Disposal
Most urban councils offer a wide range of waste disposal and recycling services. Households in urban areas usually have kerbside collections of non-recyclables, paper, cardboard and other recyclables such as glass and some plastics. Some councils provide bins for rubbish collections while others expect households to purchase bags. The bags are usually either 40 or 60 litre sizes and can be obtained from council offices, service stations and supermarkets. By purchasing the bag the householder is covering the cost of waste collection and the subsequent disposal. Other containers such as plastic boxes are provided in some areas for the collection of recyclable materials.
Collections can begin as early as 7 am and usually go on until 5 pm. As times cannot be guaranteed most councils advise residents to have their rubbish ready for collection by 7 am. Residents are informed in advance which day their waste will be collected and this is usually the same day each week.
Most areas operate recycling collections fortnightly rather than weekly. Depending upon the area you live in you may be asked to separate your recyclables into categories. Paper and cardboard, for example, are usually collected separately, although usually on the same day as other recyclables. There are some items which cannot be collected in some areas such as polystyrene, plastic bag and anything that may be considered to be hazardous. In some areas the cost of waste collections and recycling is covered in the local property taxes.
In some regions of New Zealand the refuse collectors limit the amount of household waste that they collect. This is often no more than 2 bags and is part of an initiative to encourage people to recycle more. There are collection places where residents can take waste if they have more than the amount allowed for collection. It is normally practice for the collection workers to sticker any excess bags and leave them for the householder to remove themselves. The councils also have facilities to deal with any refuse that may have been left on your property by a third party. You can report this to them and make arrangements for it to be removed.
Some areas of cities may not have a council-run waste collection service and therefore residents do not get charged for this service in their rates. Private contractors will operate in these areas or there will be collection points for the residents to take their waste to. Details of residents’ options will be provided by the local council. In some cities collections are not available for large apartment buildings. In these instances there will be a communal rubbish point and the building’s management team will arrange for a private contractor to take the waste away.
Most rural areas are unlikely to have a regular refuse collection, but there are normally collection points for residents to take their waste to. The availability and frequency of collections will depend upon the council in the area.
The sewerage system in New Zealand is mains drainage for urban areas. Most cities have a minimum of one wastewater treatment plant. Those who live in rural and remote areas will normally have septic tanks for private drainage. In urban areas where there is a mains drainage system customers will have to pay a charge for wastewater treatment. In remote areas the emptying of the septic tank is the responsibility of the homeowner.
The urban homeowner is held responsible for the upkeep of the pipe which runs between the property and the main waste pipe. They usually have a fairly long lifespan but if the householder has any concerns they can request that the council inspects the system. If repairs are required to the connecting pipe the householder will receive a bill.
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