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Green-bin organics: Where should we send it?

Wednesday, August 30, 2023   Posted in: Signatory Notice Board By: Administrator With tags: waste, recycling, consultation, community engagement, management, pollution

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 30th August 2023

Christchurch Mayor Phil Mauger talks about the future of Christchurch’s green-bin organics processing, and what it could mean for you...

It’s time to have a conversation about where our green-bin organics end up and where this material may go if we stop using our current Organics Processing Plant in Bromley.

Don’t panic, we’re not taking away green bins, just looking at what to do with the food and garden waste you put in them.

You may be aware of odour concerns from residents who live in areas near the plant, saying this affects their health and quality of life.

We understand that offensive or objectionable odour is extremely unpleasant to live with. The health and wellbeing of the city’s residents is our priority, and we want to do something to significantly reduce or contain these odours.

Our resource consent allows the plant to emit some odour.  Environment Canterbury has deemed that on some occasions odour from the plant has exceeded the allowed limits to a level assessed as offensive or objectionable, and we’ve received a fine for breaching our consent.

So we have agreed, in principle, to relocate the processing of organics to another location. A process is underway to find a suitable site, supplier and solution but realistically a new site won’t be up and running for another three to five years.

But we want to do something about the odour sooner than that, so we’re considering a short-term solution. This is what we want people across Christchurch city to know about and to give us feedback on, because there are significant financial and environmental effects to consider.

There’s nothing simple about this. Currently, the organics you put in your green bin are collected each week, taken to our plant and turned into compost – and there’s a lot of it. Each year the plant processes 60,000 tonnes of green-bin waste, 55,000 tonnes from Christchurch and 5000 tonnes from the Waimakariri district. 

Our options are limited by the fact that currently there is no other plant in Canterbury or elsewhere in the South Island that could take all our green-bin waste under their existing consents.

Council staff have identified five feasible short-term options that we want your feedback on. In no particular order, these are:

  • Sending organics to an alternative processor in the North Island;
  • Sending organics to Kate Valley Landfill;
  • Stay composting at the Organics Processing Plant and install an extra outdoor screen;
  • Reduce the amount of material going to the Organics Processing Plant - minimising the need for outdoor storage of material; or
  • Partial processing of material at the Organics Processing Plant – first stage of composting done indoors at the plant with second-stage processing done off-site.

You will have a chance to tell us what you think before we choose an option - expected in December. Remember, each option has implications in terms of timeframes, cost, effect on rates, greenhouse gas emissions, alignment with central and local government policies, and odour risk for the local community.

Consultation opens today and you’ve got until Sunday 1st October to share your feedback. You’ll be able to read about the options and implications in detail, and most importantly, tell us what you think about them.

As I’ve said, this decision will affect the whole city, so we really want to know what you, your family, your friends and your colleagues think. We don’t know if you don’t tell us, so I’m urging everyone to put a few minutes aside and share your feedback on this very important conversation.

read more about the green organics processing options for Christchurch City and how to share your thoughts.