Proposed change to Hamilton’s kerbside rubbish and recycling collection FAQS

Why the proposed change?

Several reasons, but mainly because we want to reduce the amount of black bag waste that goes to landfill. The proposals mean we can recycle a lot more, such as almost all plastic types including ice cream containers and yoghurt pots. We could also collect used pizza boxes. We are proposing the change to increase the amount of recycling. Our current service diverts 29% of our waste from landfill, this service will enable us to divert 50%.

Bins are also easier to collect and are less risky for contractors to handle than bags, and Hamilton households use over 4 million black bags every year, weighing a total of more than 200 tonnes – for the bags alone!

Why is reducing waste important?

As well as the environmental benefits, there are also big savings for the city if we can reduce our landfill waste Hamilton’s annual costs associated with the Emissions Trading Scheme and the national Waste Disposal Levy are expected to rise from the current $260,000 to $1.8 million in 2028/29.

What’s the proposal?

We’re proposing moving from a bagged rubbish service with limited recycling options, to wheeled bins with lots more recycling. This service would include:

  • A 240 litre wheeled bin, collected weekly or fortnightly, for aluminium, cans, all plastics (excluding film and polystyrene) and paper.
  • The existing recycling crate will be for glass only, collected weekly or fortnightly.
  • A 120L wheeled bin for rubbish, collected weekly.
  • A 23-litre food bin collected weekly.

What are we being asked to decide?

We want your views on whether you want the wheeled bin service, with lots more recycling options, or whether you want to stay with the bagged service. If you want the proposed service, we also want to know your thoughts on the food waste collection, the glass collection and whether you think recycling should be collected weekly or fortnightly. (The weekly collection is around $32 more per year, per household on average, than fortnightly).

Why don’t we just put the glass in with rest of the recycling?

Keeping the glass separate means broken glass won’t contaminate the recyclable plastics and paper. It also means the glass can be colour-sorted at the kerb by the contractor – which means the glass can be re-made into new bottles.

Why collect food waste?

Food waste is more than a third of the black bag waste that goes to landfill (by weight), so it’s a big part of our disposal costs. Our projections show that in a few years it will be cheaper for the city to collect food waste than to dispose of it through landfill. The proposed service would mean food waste would be collected and taken to a composting facility. Food waste includes all food items including meat, peelings, bones etc.

Why are we reviewing now?

Our current rubbish and recycling contract ends in 2019, so now is the right time to consider changes and improvements to the service before a new contract is awarded. While this is still two years away, the successful contractor will need to provide the right trucks and equipment, so we need to start now.

How will older people or people with disabilities handle the bins?

In some cases, wheeled bins are actually easier for people to manage than carrying bags, however we will have an assisted collection, where the truck driver will take the bins from a pre-agreed spot on your property. The contractor will then empty the bin and return it to that spot.

I live in flats – what if we don’t have room for the bins?

A wheeled bin service would work for most of the city, but we are aware of some areas where kerbside space, or intensive housing might present challenges. Part of this process is a review of the city’s housing as we develop special solutions for high-intensity housing.

What about the cost?

Because the cost to dispose of waste to landfill in increasing all the time, it is becoming more and more economical to recycle. By 2019, providing the current service levels would cost the city annually around $112 per household (on average). Providing the proposed service, with a lot more recycling options, would cost between $3 a year and $32 a year more than the current service – depending on frequency of collections. There is also the initial cost of the bins themselves.

It’s worth noting that if the city moved to wheeled bins, the average household would also save around $20 a year or more through not having to buy black bags.

What if my bin is stolen?

If your bin is stolen the Council would replace it. To reduce this happening the bins would have an electronic tag on them to identify the bins belong to the right house.

How can I get more information?

Go to or call us on 07 838 6699, or email us at

How can I give my views?

This is a really important decision for the city, we’d love to hear your views. To make a submission go to click here