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The ambulance at the bottom of the cliff

7 months ago

When we talk to Wellingtonians, we frequently get asked, “Why aren’t you reducing the waste coming to the Landfill”?

Waste comes to us from various sources. For some waste there is no alternative because it’s too dangerous to handle, e.g. asbestos waste, and the Southern Landfill is the safest disposal site.

For other waste, like kitchen waste or construction waste, there are alternatives to landfilling but the challenge is for industry to set up affordable processing schemes and for us to support these initiatives when they become available.

Regionally, we currently send 600kg of rubbish per person to landfills every year. Some of this waste could potentially be diverted but either the disposer decides not to separate out the recyclable waste or there are no readily available diversion options.

The Landfill is the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff. Once the rubbish gets here, we have to accept it and deal with it.

We can all do more to reduce our waste, but it takes a concerted effort and we may have to change the way we act and how we live.

A good starting point is to change the way we purchase our groceries. Only buy sufficient food for the week, shop to menus, purchase choices without excess or any packaging. This reduces food and packaging waste.

Other ideas include:

  • If you have a garden, home composting of your food scraps.

  • Separating out the recycling correctly – kerbside recycling is provided in Wellington City. This reduces material that could have been recycled going to Landfill.

  • Drop off e-waste for free at the Southern Landfill.

  • Re-use, refurbish or resell old furniture.

  • Fix appliances rather than buying new ones. Check out the Tip Shop account on Trade Me, we sell a whole lot of spare parts for vacuum cleaners and computer parts.

To find out more about recycling in Wellington City go to

For more about the Tip Shop visit or

Categories: Landfill information
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