Given its geographic isolation and the concentration of population in Kaikoura township, it is likely that most of the waste generated in Kaikoura District is disposed of at the Kaikoura Resource Recovery Centre. Some of the rural population of the district may transport their refuse to other disposal facilities outside the district, or dispose of it on their own property, but this is unlikely to represent a substantial proportion of the overall waste stream.
As a result, the monitoring of the residual waste discharged at Kaikoura Landfill over time is likely to provide measurements that are potentially useful for monitoring longitudinal trends in waste disposal and for comparing waste disposal between different regions. The data could also be used to monitor the targets in The New Zealand Waste Strategy.
However, composition data on waste disposed of at Kaikoura Landfill, the focus of the SWAP Waste Data Programme, may not necessarily be considered to be representative of waste disposal in other communities. There are several factors that, when combined, result in Kaikoura potentially being anomalous in terms of the volume and composition of solid waste to landfill.
K7.1 The size of the community relative to the scale of its tourism industry
It is estimated that Kaikoura, with a population of less than 5000, receives approximately 1 million visitors each year.5 The scale of the tourism industry in Kaikoura is such that it may substantially affect both the volume and composition of solid waste to landfill in the district. By contrast, Rotorua has a population of 70,000 and hosts 1.7 million visitors annually6. Its tourism sector would have a smaller impact on the waste stream.
K7.2 Zero waste and the environmental vision of the Kaikoura community
The Kaikoura community has a commitment to reducing impacts on the environment and adopted a zero waste policy in 1999.7 This policy has resulted in the Kaikoura Resource Recovery Centre being designed and operated to maximise diversion of waste from landfill disposal. Although further research would be required to determine the effectiveness of these initiatives relative to other facilities, the success of the Resource Recovery Centre at reducing waste to landfill has been widely recognised.8
K7.3 Range of waste collection options
Kaikoura District Council does not provide a kerbside refuse collection. There is a limited range of waste disposal options available to residents and businesses in the township compared to other centres; for example, there are no front-load or gantry skip collections in the township. It was observed during the surveys that a higher-than-normal proportion of residents and businesses deliver their own waste directly to the disposal facility, and that a higher-than-normal proportion separate recoverable materials before disposal of the residual waste.9
9 David Kannu, Waste Not Consulting contract surveyor, personal communication, March 2008.