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Christchurch-based company WasteCo has joined Waste Management and Awamoa Bins & Skips in providing waste collection services in Oamaru. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Competition in the Oamaru rubbish and recycling collection game is hotting up.

Christchurch-based WasteCo will join Waste Management and locally-owned company Awamoa Bins & Skips as the major domestic and commercial waste collection providers in the district.

Its entry into the Oamaru market comes after it purchased the rubbish collection businesses of Delta Utility Services, which had a contract with the Waitaki District Council – that would not be impacted – to manage its transfer stations in the Waitaki Valley, WasteCo chief executive Carl Storm said.

“While completing due diligence for Delta’s solid waste business, WasteCo discovered that not only were the Delta customers paying more for collections in urban Oamaru but all urban ratepayers were, in our view, paying more than they should for wheelie bins and rubbish bag collections, and it was noted there was no household kerbside recycling service available.”

Wasteco will offer a general waste collection service (140-litre bin) for a cost of $5.95 a week, and recycling (240-litre bin) for $3.95 a fortnight.

Collected recycling will go to the Waitaki Resource Recovery Park.

Waste Management offers general waste collection only and charges $13 a fortnight for a 140-litre bin and $17 a fortnight for a 240-litre bin, and will cease its rubbish bag collection service in Oamaru early next year.

Waste Management South Island general manager Gareth James said the move away from bag collection was part of a nationwide strategy “due to the safety risks that collecting bags presents to our team”.

Those included “the risk of cuts and abrasions when there are sharp items concealed in the bags” when handled.

Bags will be sold until the end of December, and collected until February 28.

Mr Storm said Waste Management had “set the bar” in regards to the service it offered, but was “extremely confident” the WasteCo venture would be a success.

“In business, there is always a risk. This is a good thing for us as it means we have to be equally professional and more innovative than our competitors.

“WasteCo market research immediately showed that the extremely competitive offerings will be successful not only for WasteCo but for the ratepayers of Waitaki, who have paid too much for far too long.”

Asked if Waste Management would conduct a review of its fees, Mr James said the company was “constantly reviewing our prices” and considered a “range of factors” when those reviews took place.

WasteCo’s announcement prompted some to voice their opinions on rubbish and recycling collection services in Oamaru through social media.

Some believed the council should provide a kerbside collection service, as it did until late 2009, until it was discontinued as more residents opted to use private contractors.

In May 2008, a three-bin collection system was rejected by the council of the day.

Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher said in the past, informal discussions were had about ratepayer-funded kerbside collection.

He believed it was an issue that would need to go out for public consultation if it was to be considered.

“It’s worth looking at what it would cost to have a rates-funded wheelie-bin service, and do we need to do that?” Mr Kircher said

“For those minimising .. getting rid of their rubbish can be a very cheap thing to do. People are able to do that using the services available, but equally as part of the long term plan we can always look at it again and put the figures out there and ask the public what they think.

“But there would have to be some pretty good reasons for us to go down that path.”