Consultation for the Solid Waste Bylaw finishes on Sunday. Read on to understand why it matters.
As the world becomes more urban, cities need to become more liveable. Proximity helps, and walkable cities offer more opportunities for social connection and for low-carbon lifestyles. But for cities to be better places to live, we need to nurture the natural environment. Living more closely together, we will rely more on the parks, gardens and stream corridors that we retain. Yet these pockets of nature will be more fragile, fragmented as they are between hard paving and buildings.
Transporting food and products into the city and transporting waste out of the city is a poor use of energy. If all the food waste and plant waste is transported out of the city, there’s also a huge loss of nutrients and organic matter that the soil and plants in the city need. We need to see our use of resources as more of a circular process, and composting is key to that.
Last week the Auckland Council declared we have a Climate Emergency. Responding to this emergency will require a complete re-analysis of our relationship with nature. Carbon is sequestered in healthy soil, and climate change will stress our flora and fauna. The same exploitative practices that are causing climate change are stripping our ecology of health. The climate crisis is urgent, but the UN has found that:
the five direct drivers of change in nature with the largest relative global impacts so far … are, in descending order: (1) changes in land and sea use; (2) direct exploitation of organisms; (3) climate change; (4) pollution and (5) invasive alien species.
Networks of residents are practising the skills we need to address these issues. Council needs to reach out and connect with these groups, learn from them, and help spread their skills throughout the city. And often, that is exactly what Council does.
But in the area of waste, there seems to be a mismatch between mindsets. In preference to separating recycling at source and e-trike kerbside food waste pickup schemes, the Council has chosen corporate models involving truck cartage, exporting of recycling to poor countries, and industrial scale composting plants outside the city.
A new conflict has arisen over the proposed Solid Waste Bylaw, which will outlaw common and healthy composting practices, such as using seaweed from the beach, leaves from the footpath, grass clippings from the neighbour.
If people follow these new rules, the healthy social connections that happen when members of the community swap waste resources with each other for compost making will be prevented. And many people will simply be put off composting, meaning energy will be wasted as their food and garden waste is trucked out of the city.
Alternatively, if people continue with healthy composting practices, they will be doing so in defiance of the Council, so the bylaw will drive a wedge between Council and the very practitioners Council needs to learn from.
I am asking questions of Council about process and management oversight, and how the bylaw missed the input from Council’s teams who understand sustainability. Until I get those answers, though, I’d like to bring it to your attention, in case you care to submit.
Most of us have consultation burnout, so I thought I’d circulate an email from For the Love of Bees, which includes easy-submit instructions from the Auckland Compost Collective. Obviously, tailor your submission to reflect your experience and to suit your beliefs.
The Auckland Composting Network is concerned about the wording of a new council bylaw taking effect in 2019. Submissions on this bylaw are closing in three days on the 16th of June. We would like as many supporters as possible to make a submission to ensure that local living compost hubs can continue to build momentum and establish themselves as a valuable resource for our city and very relevant climate change ready infrastructure.
Our collaborators at NZBox are also concerned about the current wording of the bylaw, they say, ‘it would completely undermine the capacity of Auckland residents, businesses and communities to compost or resource community composting initiatives. Producing quality local compost supports growing quality local food, which supports food resilient and healthy communities. Local composting hubs enable soils to sequester carbon, while reducing waste to landfill and emissions getting it there. Composting our own food waste provides local jobs, community connectivity and amazing education opportunities.’
Finn Mackesy on behalf of the Auckland Composting Network has put together a template to make a submission quick and easy – in 7 mins.
We hope you can take the time to COMPLETE A SUBMISSION, please read Finn’s guidelines below.
Kia ora Koutou,
As you may be aware Auckland Council is currently seeking submissions on the proposed Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019.
The purpose of this bylaw is to manage and minimise waste, protect the public from health and safety risks and nuisance, and to manage the use of council-controlled public places. While on the whole the proposed bylaw seems fit-for-purpose there are several sections that pose challenges to individuals and groups wanting to manage and minimise food waste at the local level. In response to the shortcomings of the proposed bylaw the Auckland Composting Network have created a templated submission response and instructions for quickly completing an online submission (see below).
We need as many Aucklanders as possible who engage in and/or support local composting to provide feedback on the proposed bylaw to ensure safe, sustainable and effective methods of household and community scale composting are acknowledged and valued. Please share this with people, organisations and networks who you think might want to make a submission to support Auckland Council in enabling communities and individuals to compost.
Submissions close on Sunday June 16. Completing the online submission process using the templated responses will take approximately 7 minutes to complete.
If you are wanting to read the full proposed Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019 follow this link
To complete the online submission process there is a combination of click responses and free text sections. To make it as easy as possible to provide feedback to the proposed bylaw supporting local composting and navigate the submission process instructions and templated responses have been provided below.
Here is a link to the online submission
on behalf of the Auckland Composting Network
INSTRUCTIONS FOR SUBMISSION
- Click the link above
- Fill in your personal details
- Click Next at bottom of page
Which of the following would you like to give feedback on? *
Select as many as apply
- Tick the first option: Requiring people to deposit and dispose of waste appropriately
- Click Next at bottom of page
- Tick Agree
Clarify how a person may dispose of or discard material on premises they own or occupy. (Clause 8)ReasonWe want to make rules about the disposal of material on private premises easier to understand and to better address nuisance and safety risks from the burial and composting of material.
- Tick Disagree
Please tell us why
- Copy and paste or edit the templated response (below) in the text box provided:
“The wording in two sections within Clause 8 unnecessarily limit households’ and communities’ ability to manage and minimise organic waste safely. The following rewording is requested:
(1) A person may dispose of or discard waste by burial on premises that person occupies or owns if –
(c) the waste is food scraps or green waste from domestic activity on the same premises and the premises is in a rural area or if in an urban area the food scraps are fermented using the bokashi method first.
Add new sub-clause (e): or through any other consented composting process.
(2) A person may dispose of or discard material by composting if –
(b) Replace “at a community garden” with “as part of a community composting initiative” to ensure other effective community composting initiatives remain permissible activities. I.e. “the material is from activity on the same premises that it is composted on or the material is composted as part of a community composting initiative.”
Clause 8 also needs to ensure that the collection of materials from offsite which can make composting efforts more effective is permissible under the new bylaw. Examples of such materials include seaweed collected on the beach, leaves fallen on the footpath (which might otherwise block a public drain), the neighbour’s mown grass or hedge clippings, biochar, sheep pellets, animal manures from local farms, coffee grinds from the local cafe, compostable packaging, woodchip from an arborist, and oyster shells.
- Tick Agree
- Tick Agree
- Click Next at bottom of page
Do you have any other feedback on the proposed new Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019?
- Copy and paste (or edit and personalise) the templated response (below) in the text box provided:
In general I support the Proposed Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019. However, there are four areas of the proposed bylaw that are currently weak or missing – (1) there is currently no reference to the role of composting as an effective climate mitigation strategy; (2) there is no acknowledgement of the usefulness and primary function of compost as a soil amendment; (3) there is insufficient opportunities for landowners and residents to compost materials on site by safe and effective means; and (4) there needs to be recognition and endorsement of community composting initiatives beyond community gardens as effective, sustainable and pro-social means of managing and minimising waste.I request the following additional additions and changes to the proposed Proposed Waste Management and Minimisation Bylaw 2019 to ensure that all effective biological composting methods and community composting initiatives are recognised and endorsed under the new bylaw.
Clause 4 Purpose(1) The purpose of this bylaw is to manage and minimise waste, protect the public from health and safety risks and nuisance, and to manage the use of council-controlled public places by –
add (f) minimising the harm from greenhouse gas emissions produced by waste.
Clause 5 InterpretationAnaerobic digestion means an energy generation process produced through the anaerobic digestion of organic matter. This is not a composting operation unless the resultant sludge and digestate are land applied.
Compost means the byproduct of the biological processing of organic material into a form capable of land application.
Composting means the activity of creating nutrient-rich fertiliser and organic matter from food scraps, green waste or both and to avoid doubt, includes worm farms and other biological means of converting organic waste materials into nutrient-rich fertiliser and organic matter. It includes diverting organic matter from landfill and converting it through biological processes into soil building amendments.
This addition will ensure that all effective composting techniques and biological processes are explicitly included under the bylaw (E.g. Effective Microorganisms (EM) and Black Soldier Fly (BSF) farming). It also ensures that new and promising biological means of processing food scraps can be tested and developed under the bylaw.
Add a definition for Organic Matter – material that breaks down in anaerobic conditions to produce methane, specifically paper, wood, greenwaste, food scraps, cardboard, sludges and biosolids
Clause 12 Operators of waste management and resource recovery facilities
Definition of a resource recovery facility needs to include an explicit purpose of diverting material from landfill. It also needs needs to include community composting operations for the bylaw to effectively recognise and value the role of community composting initiatives and facilities.
Add to Clause 1.b.i. “for the purpose of diverting materials from landfill, recovering components…”
Add to Clause 1.b.ii. in the definition of a resource recovery facility …“to avoid doubt, includes a commercial or community composting operation…”
- Click Next at bottom of page
- Complete the Tell us about your experience section
- Click Finish