4.3 What is being done?

Policy documents

The RPS provides an overview of resource management issues in Northland, including waste management issues. It contains objectives, policies and methods to achieve the integrated and sustainable management of Northland's environment. Solid waste policies focus around waste minimisation and waste collection, treatment and disposal.

Otherwise all landfill or cleanfill sites must comply with the rules in the Regional Water and Soil, Coastal and Air Plans.

Landfill monitoring

Under the Resource Management Act 1991, most of the small and often poorly planned and managed rural tips used throughout the region have closed, and in most cases have been replaced with refuse transfer stations, which have a lesser impact on the environment.

Instead of having a large number of small sites, larger centralised landfills are now used for the disposal of refuse. At present, three landfill sites operate in the Northland Region, Ahipara, Russell and Hakaru.

Operational landfills

Operational landfills are monitored either seasonally or twice a year. Surface water, groundwater and sediment samples are collected from locations adjacent to the landfills. These samples are then analysed for a wide range of parameters including general water quality indicators and potential contaminants, such as heavy metals. In addition, organic scans are undertaken annually at some sites on landfill leachate samples, to screen for the possible presence of pesticide residues and other contaminants.

Closed landfills

Closed landfills are visually inspected every second year. Also at some sites, samples are collected and analysed for a wide range of water quality indicators and heavy metals.

Landfill site full of used whiteware.

Whangae closed landfill.

The New Zealand Waste Strategy

In 2002, the Government released ‘The New Zealand Waste Strategy' (MFE 2002). The Strategy contains national targets for prioritising wastes. The following targets for solid waste have had a direct impact on Regional, City and District Councils. Tables 1 and 2 below show Northland's progress towards reaching the targets.

Table 1: Targets for solid waste and Northland's progress in April 2007

Target Target date Progress
Local authorities will have addressed their funding policy to ensure that full cost recovery can be achieved for all waste treatment and disposal processes. Dec 2003 Mostly achieved
Operators of all landfills, cleanfills and wastewater treatment plants will have calculated user charges based on the full costs of providing and operating the facilities and established a programme to phase these charges in over a timeframe acceptable to the local community. Dec 2005 Partially achieved
All cleanfills will comply with guidelines. Dec 2005 Partially achieved
All substandard landfills will be upgraded or closed. Dec 2010 Fully achieved
All substandard wastewater treatment facilities will be upgraded, closed or replaced with systems that comply with all relevant regional and coastal plans, standards and guidelines. Dec 2020 Partially achieved


Table 2: Targets for waste minimisation and Northland's progress in April 2007

Target Target date Progress
Local authorities will report their progress on waste minimisation and management in their 2001-02 annual report and quantitatively on an annual basis from then onwards. Annually Partially achieved
All regional councils will ensure that new or renewed industrial resource consents include a recognised waste minimisation and management programme and will report on the percentage of all consents under their jurisdiction that have such a clause. Dec 2005 Partially achieved
At least 10 major businesses will be participating alongside central and local government in developing and promoting waste minimisation programmes within their sector. Dec 2005 Not achieved
Ninety-five percent of the population will have access to community recycling facilities. Dec 2005 Partially achieved*
Territorial local authorities will ensure that building regulations incorporate reference to space allocation for appropriate recycling facilities in multi-unit residential and commercial buildings. Dec 2005 Not achieved
All councils will ensure that procedures for waste minimisation have been addressed for all facilities and assets they manage and will have set target reductions based on public health, environmental and economic factors. Dec 2005 Partially achieved
All regional councils will ensure that at least 25 percent of all existing industrial resource consent holders have in place a recognised waste minimisation and management programme. Dec 2010 Some progress

* This is difficult to quantify, however since the 2002 report a considerable number of recycling facilities have been constructed in the region.

Other responses

Cleaner production

Northland Regional Council has commenced promotion of cleaner production schemes with local industry. Cleaner production aims to reduce costs by increasing efficiency, minimising raw material use, recycling and reducing waste and preventing pollution. It encompasses everything from the supply and use of raw materials and resources, product design and management techniques through to waste management. Several industry sectors, such as vehicle grooming operations and vehicle dismantlers, have been identified and prioritised. See the case study of cleaner production promotion with vehicle washing businesses below.