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Wastebusters wins contract to take over transfer stations

Posted at 12:51pm Tuesday 04 Jun, 2019

Matakana-based charitable trust Mahurangi Wastebusters has been awarded a two-year contract to run Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) at Auckland Council's waste transfer stations in Snells Beach and Wellsford.

Both the sites will close for nearly three weeks on July 1 when current operator Northland Waste's lease ends, before reopening on Thursday, July 18 at Lawrie Road and Saturday, July 20 at Rustybrook Road with basic drop-off services for green and general waste. Mahurangi Wastebusters founder Trish Allen said additional drop-off services and new shops selling reusable items would follow in August.

“In the first year, we are aiming to divert 50 per cent of materials received from landfill, rising to 65 per cent in 2021, and 70 per cent by 2022,” she said.

Opening times will be cut at Lawrie Road from every day to Thursday to Sunday, and stay the same – Thursday and Saturday – at Rustybrook, although with slightly longer hours (see panel). Ms Allen said fees were still being finalised, but customers who pre-sorted and minimised their loads would save money.

“The more they divert, the less they pay. Landfill waste is always the most expensive option,” she said.

The CRCs will take domestic and small business waste only while remediation work at the former landfill sites takes place, meaning commercial and hazardous waste, clean fill and trucks over four tonnes will need to go elsewhere.

Auckland Council's Waste Solutions programme director Parul Sood said three tenders were submitted to run the sites and Mahurangi Wastebusters represented the best value for money for ratepayers, as well as closely matching community needs identified at a series of consultation workshops run last spring.

Trish Allen said the CRCs would employ five staff and would earn revenue from gate fees, the sale of recyclable commodities and reusable goods, and a contract fee from Council. Grant funding
would also be sought.

Mahurangi Wastebusters is partnering with Localised, a social enterprise established by Zero Waste Network, to offer skills and support to assist community-based organisations wanting to establish resource recovery enterprises with local government.

“As a community enterprise, there is no individual benefit in our ownership structure. Our focus is on providing the best services possible for our community and environment,” Ms Allen said. “In particular, we have been inspired by similar operations in Helensville, Waiuku and Devonport. We are heartened by the huge support we have received from local residents, businesses, community organisations and mana whenua to bring the same services to our communities.”

Current operator Northland Waste also tendered for the contract. Managing director Ray Lambert said he expected that some redundancies would have to be made among staff currently working at the sites when the lease ended. The company would also have to re-route a lot of its commercial waste, recyclables and refuse that was currently sorted and consolidated at the transfer stations, he said.

“There are short-term financial implications, but we won't let it affect our customers. We'll hand over the site and help in any way we can,” he said. “I wish them well for the future. But I think the Council decision needs to be measured against our offer to do it for free.”

Northland Waste recently lodged a publicly notified resource consent application to build a new $3 million indoor waste sorting and recycling station on land off Sandspit Road, near Warkworth.

“We're confident that we'll get our other facility running,” Mr Lambert said. “It would have been nice to work in partnership in the interim.”


Opening times

Northland Waste – until June 30
Lawrie Road, 9.30am-4.30pm daily
Rustybrook Road, 1.30-3.30pm Thursday and 10.30am-2.30pm Saturday

Mahurangi Wastebusters – from July 18
Lawrie Road, 8.30am to 4.30pm Thursday to Saturday, and 10.30am to 4.30pm Sunday
Rustybrook Road, 10.30am-3pm Thursday and Saturday (starting July 20)

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