Zero Waste Challenge


Ruapehu’s landfill in Taumarunui has two big problems that will have big implications for waste management in Ruapehu and protecting our beautiful environment.

​Resolving either issue will be expensive and will mean the cost of waste disposal will increase. Council is well aware that many people already struggle with the cost of roadside rubbish collection (pink bags) or disposing of rubbish at the landfill. 

The increasing costs of waste disposal can lead to greater incidences of fly-tipping (illegal waste dumping), protest dumping and the misuse of some facilities all of which is a major cost to ratepayers and harms our environment. 

Big problem no. 1 - Resource consent expires 2020

To operate the landfill Council must have a Resource Consent (RC). The current RC is due to expire in just over 2 years time in 2020. Applying for a RC extension and constructing a new landfill cell is estimated to cost in excess of $1 million. 

The environmental standards of a new landfill cell are significantly greater than for the current landfill and would require:
  • Extensive earthworks,
  • It will need to be lined, 
  • Water leachate from the cell would need to be treated meaning an expensive upgrade to the Taumarunui Wastewater Treatment Plant and,
  • Landfill gas would need to be burned-off. (unfortunately not enough to generate power)
​In the end a new landfill cell may only extend the life of the landfill by up to 10 years so we would not gain much landfill usage time for a lot of cost.

​Big problem no. 2 - The landfill is filling-up. 

At the current rate of filling the landfill may not even see the end of its current RC period.
In addition to local residents rubbish we are also dealing with the massive growth in visitor numbers as our tourism sector booms.

​What will it mean?

When the current landfill is full up, and/or the current RC runs, out if we haven’t extended the RC and built a new landfill cell we will need to transport our solid waste out of the district for disposal. 

The BIG solution!

As a community we can help ourselves and our environment in a big way by reducing, reusing, recycling and composting to maximise the life of our landfill.

1. Reducing 

We could all use less and produce less waste. The ‘reduction mantra’ is:

  • Buy less,
  • Choose well and,
  • Make it last! 

2. Recycling

Did you know that the energy saved by recycling one small aluminum can will run a lightbul for 20 hours or half a gallon of gasoline! ​

Ruapehu has been making good progress on reducing the amount of waste that goes into the landfill by recycling but we need to do better if we are going maximise the life of our landfill.

Recycling items not only means they don’t end up in the landfill but we help save on energy use, water, natural habitats and other precious resources.    

​3. Reusing

Reusing things is a simple, pain free way to reduce your waste footprint and help maximise the life of our landfill. Reusable shopping bags are a great place to start. 

If you have a baby or toddler in your whanau why not give re-usable cloth nappies a go? Council offers special discounted cloth nappy starter packs. Modern cloth nappies are easy to use, environmentally friendly and could save you thousands of dollars over the life of your baby.

​4. Composting.

We should all be composting all we can. Surveys undertaken by Council on what people throw out to landfill in their kerbside bags has shown that just over half of all rubbish being sent to the landfill was compostable. 

What this tells us is that every household started composting where possible we have the potential to halve the amount of rubbish going to our landfill.​

Be part of the solution!

​We all have a part to play if we want to maximise the life of our landfill.  It's not about being perfect but it is about making better choices. 

There is heaps of helpful information available about how to reduce, reuse, recycle or compost. If you need help from Council please email Daniel Allen​ or or contact him via your local Council office.

Page reviewed: 23 Jun 2017 7:40am