Litter Trial Update

Jan 23, 2015

A new rubbish collection system being trialled in central Queenstown has made the downtown streets noticeably cleaner and less cluttered.

That’s the consensus one month in to the three month trial, which started just before Christmas.

A review this week saw QLDC staff and contractors sit down with the two councillors who first raised the idea, for a critical assessment of the first four weeks.

Under the new system, businesses put out their rubbish bags and cardboard recycling twice a day, at 11 collection points spaced around the CBD. The items go out at 8am and 2pm, with contractors making the collections half an hour later. Under the new bylaw passed in December, any rubbish put out at other times is considered to be litter and can attract fines ranging from $100 - $400, depending on the quantity.

Only one business has been fined for repeatedly flouting the new system and putting its rubbish out in the wrong place and the wrong time.

QLDC Regulatory Manager Lee Webster said that for the first three weeks after the trial started, staff had concentrated on education, working with businesses to make sure they understood the new system.

“If someone was putting their bags or cardboard out at the wrong time or leaving it in the wrong place, we would go and see them, explain the new system, leave them a copy of the map and information on the collection system, and make sure they understood how it works. We’d keep a record of who we’d talked to, and within a short time, just about everyone was getting it right.”

Crs Merv Aoake and Ferg Ferguson have spent hours walking the streets and talking to businesses to see how the new system was being received. As a result of their feedback, some of the collection points have been altered to make them more accessible.

Cr Aoake said it had been “very ambitious” to start the new system just before the busiest time of the year, but the results were worth it. Even those who would have preferred to keep putting their bags on the street right outside their shop front agreed that the town looked tidier.

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome had been in businesses with large staff, where not everyone had got the message at the start.

As well, Contractors AllWaste and Smart Environmental both had to change their routes and schedules to fit the new system, and were monitoring whether the amount of waste and recycling had increased or dropped over the last month.

There will be another interim review of the trial towards the end of February.