All the Transwaste partners are committed to the wider community goal of long-term waste minimisation, including recycling, re-using and diverting organics to composting. Council partners have introduced multi-bin collection schemes that separate organics, recyclables and non-recyclable waste. In the early years after the Landfill opened in 2005 it seemed that these initiatives were making a real impact upon the waste stream. Waste volumes decreased in 2006, 2007 and 2008. The Global Financial Crisis (GFC) had an impact on commercial activity, particularly construction and manufacturing in 2009, further decreasing waste volumes to their lowest levels in over twenty years.
However the trend was short lived. Earthquakes in late 2010 and throughout 2011 produced both putrescible waste (such as food from restaurants and supermarkets) that required immediate disposal for health reasons, and building waste as repairs and demolitions of thousands of houses and buildings commenced. The longer timeframe for building repairs has meant that waste volumes have continued to climb ever since. A small drop in waste volumes in 2016 wasn’t sustained as the Kaikoura earthquakes and subsequent rebuild produced more waste.
The earthquakes have focused attention on the hazardous materials contained in many homes and buildings, that cannot be recycled or reused but must be carefully removed and disposed of in a Landfill. Asbestos was used extensively in homes and public buildings for roofs, lagging for pipes, in stippled ceilings, and as a fire retardant in kitchens and around heating appliances. The Kate Valley Landfill is the only site in Canterbury consented to receive Asbestos and ensures it is disposed of safely. There is no alternative to burying Asbestos in a Landfill, as it cannot be reused or recycled. Asbestos is not the only material that can’t be recycled. Most plastics and synthetic products, such as polyester clothing and nylon carpets, will end up in the Landfill. Until consumption patterns change and people make different choices over the products they buy there will continue to be waste that cannot be recycled or reused and needs to be disposed of in the Landfill.