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Plastic not so fantastic . . . Waitaki Resource Recovery Park manager Dave Clare stands with a mountain of plastic at the park. PHOTO: TYSON YOUNG

Price increases for rubbish disposal have left a “bad taste” in Waitaki Resource Recovery Park manager Dave Clare’s mouth.

Costs including freight to landfill were $190 a tonne before the closure of Oamaru’s landfill, he said.

When the Oamaru Refuse Transfer Station opened and the landfill closed last year, costs increased to $263 a tonne.

In July, costs increased to $273.94 a tonne.

Now, costs have gone up again, to $318.94 a tonne.

The latest cost increase came following a Dunedin City Council decision on costs associated with the disposal of Waitaki’s rubbish by the transfer station.

“They’re passing on the increase to us, which hits Oamaru pretty hard,” Mr Clare said.

“It’s occurring right around the country – the cost of rubbish is going up.”

The inevitable result of price hikes will be the Waitaki Resource Recovery Park bumping up its charges for customers.

“We’re not price-gouging, we’re not making it for profit – it’s a fact of life, and it hurts.”

Other waste operators throughout the region were “seriously” looking at increasing their fees, Mr Clare said.

“I would imagine, to a degree, there will be increases of varying percentages across the whole waste stream.”

Mr Clare said the cost increases came from people’s carelessness in how they managed their waste.

“We strongly urge the community to seriously review how they treat their rubbish.”

He believed rates would continue to increase if residents did not change their rubbish habits.

The Waitaki Resource Recovery Park charges $1 for any amount of all forms of domestic recycling including paper, cardboard, and glass.

The “nominal” charge was introduced about three months ago to encourage recycling among residents.

“Once you get into a regular routine or rhythm, it’s second nature. It’s easy,” he said.

“Even if they’re in three times a week, it’s $3 – that’s a cup of coffee.”

According to the Waitaki District Council’s 2018-24 waste management and minimisation plan, the trust receives $270,000 each year in funding.

The park sends about five shipping containers worth of sorted plastic to Auckland each month.

In the last financial year, the park diverted about 3000 tonnes of recycling from the landfill.

Mr Clare said people should contact the recovery park if they had any questions at all about rules around recycling.

“If you’re unsure about recyclable items, give us a call – we do bend over backwards to try to refurbish, resell, or recycle.”

According to Recycle.co.nz New Zealanders on average send 2.5million tonnes of rubbish to landfill each year, which equals about a tonne of waste per household per year.