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Changing times . Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust business manager Dave Clare at the Waitaki Resource Recovery Park. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Higher dumping costs at Waste Management’s Oamaru refuse transfer station have forced the Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust to increase its own rubbish dumping prices.

As of May 1, the price of dropping off a standard 65-litre bag of rubbish at the Waitaki Resource Recovery Park in Chelmer St increased from $4.20 to $4.90.

The rise is a result of higher costs associated with dumping rubbish at the new transfer station, where the charge is $228 a tonne, compared to $160 a tonne at the former Oamaru landfill, where the trust used to dispose of rubbish.

Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust business manager Dave Clare said the trust had little choice but to pass on the cost.

“Obviously, that has ramifications for us, because the rubbish we collected from the general public goes in a 20-foot residual container and we have to pay the cost to get it to the transfer station, and the cost of the full weight of the product.

“In a sense, our costs have gone up substantially and we’ve had to increase the cost for the general public. But we haven’t passed on the full increase.”

Several months ago, the trust, along with the Waitaki District Council, signed a memorandum of understanding with Waste Management to ensure a range of quality, accessible waste management and minimisation services were available when the landfill closed.

The decision to build the new transfer station was made by the council more than two years ago when it became clear the development of a new landfill would be unaffordable for ratepayers.

While pleased to have the transfer station operating, Mr Clare said it was “catch 22” situation for the trust.

“We’re a social enterprise. We have to pay for the rubbish to be disposed of, just like any contractor or the general public. We’re a convenient site for the disposal of rubbish, but we have to bear the cost.”

The trust does not receive a discounted rate from Waste Management to dump rubbish, and no discussions about that possibility had taken place,Mr Clare said.

However, he was encouraged by increased numbers of people recycling material, and hoped, given the rubbish dumping price increase, more would choose to recycle.

“What we are suggesting is here is the perfect opportunity to look at what things are going in your rubbish bags. We can recycle glass bottles and jars, cardboard and paper and obviously tin and aluminium cans. We recycle plastics, anything that has a number of one to seven.

“If it’s clean, it’s a resource; if it’s dirty, it’s rubbish.”

In the 2015-16 financial year, 75,000 vehicles passed through the recovery park.

To the end of March this financial year, 79,000 vehicles passed through, with three months still to go, at an average of between 200 and 300 vehicles a day during the week and about 400 in the weekend.

Meanwhile, the trust has also reviewed its green waste drop-off prices.

It used to charge by the square metre, by the trailer load, ranging from $10 to $45 depending on size.

Bins and wool sacks of green waste cost between $6 and $10.30 for disposal.

“We used to charge by the square metre, which was a bone of contention. We’ve gone towards charging by the trailer load .. we’re trialling this to see if it will make it easier for the general public.”

In the quarter to March, the trust diverted about 800 tonnes of material from the landfill, saving more than $130,000 in dumping fees. That equated to more than $500,000 annually.