How to reduce waste and where to go for public funding to finance your project

Point of Order has been sniffing into waste – or, more precisely, the minimisation of waste – since Environment Minister David Parker announced a $20.5m investment to reduce waste going to landfill in the Bay of Plenty

Parker said the $20.5m had been dished out to the Tauranga City Council from the Government’s Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) to support essential waste infrastructure projects in Tauranga that also serve the broader Bay of Plenty region.

“Our support to the Tauranga City Council’s city waste infrastructure project is another example of the Government’s commitment to accelerating regional New Zealand’s recovery from the impacts of Covid-19. 

“The project is a collaboration with private industry. It will create jobs and minimise waste going to landfill in the Bay of Plenty.”

But don’t we have a Waste Minimisation Fund for this sort of thing?

Indeed we do. You can check HERE to see if you (or the Tauranga City Council) might qualify to get a snout into it.

On at least one previous occasion, a Tauranga applicant has been granted funding.  In 2017, when National’s Scott Simpson was Associate Environment Minister, he announced a Waste Minimisation Fund grant of nearly $55,000 to Tauranga-based Beyond the Bin to help turn its event waste reduction workshop into a free online e-course consisting of a series of 10 short videos.

Made by and for event organisers, the Beyond the Bin online videos was to feature practical examples of how waste diversion can work at large events. The videos were designed to increase engagement with event waste-minimisation practices, and to inspire event organisers and food vendors to aspire to ‘zero waste’.

We don’t know how the videos turned out. If they were screened on the telly, it might have clashed with a footy match or something.

But Scott’s press statement drew attention to the government’s Waste Minimisation Fund having been established in 2009, when Nick Smith was Minister.  It was funded by a levy of $10 per tonne charged on waste disposed of at landfills.

The press statement said more than $80 million had been awarded to more than 130 projects.

But the funding for Tauranga City Council’s waste infrastructure project – as we noted earlier – apparently came from another pile of dosh.

We wondered:  can all councils expect to get help of this sort for waste reduction, and if so what rationale is applied to determining who gets funding, how much the funding should be, and when the funding will be provided?

We asked the Minister and were told Tauranga’s handout was part of the Government’s $124 million investment through the Covid-19 Response and Recovery Fund (CRRF) for a number of significant waste infrastructure initiatives across the country.

Fourteen major waste infrastructure initiatives are being funded by the CRRF, which are a combination of grants and loans to private and public entities.

Seven of  those projects involve territorial local authorities or a council-controlled organisation.

Several projects are still in stages of due diligence and negotiation and will be announced during this year.

The purpose of the initiatives is to minimise waste as well as create employment opportunities during the Covid-19 economic recovery period.

The CRRF projects were selected as transformational investments based on the quality and importance of their outcomes, how advanced they were with their planning, and their potential contribution to support the vision of creating a low waste economy and world-class resource recovery and recycling system.

Timeliness and the ability to move quickly in developing infrastructure projects was a critical element to decision-making, we were told.

While the CRRF is fully allocated, the expansion of the waste levy from 1 July will provide greater opportunities for local authorities to receive support for similar initiatives in the future.

In Tauranga, the Government is providing $20.5m and the Tauranga City Council is contributing $4m.

The ministerial press statement, announcing the funding, said the Government so far has invested $124.3 million through the CRRF in specific recycling and recovery infrastructure initiatives across New Zealand that will ultimately reduce waste to landfill.

These initiatives include waste recycling and reprocessing plants, landfill weighbridges for Improved waste data collection, upgraded material recovery facilities, and resource recovery plants. They will be delivered over the next 24 months and are administered by the Ministry for the Environment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.