2 April 2019
Claims by Waste Management that Auckland needs a new waste disposal site are rubbish.
While it is true that the current site at Redvale is approaching its use by date, landfills are a third world option for rubbish disposal while waste to energy plants have the potential to be carbon negative and ecologically sound.
A planned new rubbish dump site in the Dome Valley will cover 1000 hectares and, in addition to being a blot on the landscape, will waste an enormous resource that could be turned into profit.
While the vast majority of waste collected in New Zealand goes into rubbish dumps, over 2000 pyrolytic plants operate across the world in countries like Japan, Norway, Sweden, France, Germany, Belgium and other European countries and recover a substantial value of material from the waste stream before turning the remainder into electricity, slag for use in road building, and ash.
Emissions from the new generation plants are negligible, while rubbish dumps generated methane, said to be the worst of greenhouse gases, CO2, and have the possibility of leaching into waterways, killing fish and plant life.
A waste-to-energy plant south of Auckland would be close to New Zealand’s fastest growing cities, and could take rubbish from the whole of the country. Railways could carry the bulk of the load with a combination of rail and coastal shipping handling South Island rubbish.
This would take large numbers of heavy trucks off the road and be far more efficient, less polluting and make roads safer for other users. In the case of the Dome Valley site, that would mean 300 fewer return trips by truck and trailer units on the main road north daily.
The Green Party in Germany are promoting a complete ban on land-filling by 2020. They maintain that landfill sites are “black boxes with uncontrolled biological and chemical processes that need intensive care for generations, with a permanent danger of leaks and tears”, likely to cause “major impacts on groundwater and soil”.
No wonder Dome Valley residents are up in arms.
Government rhetoric about climate change, waste reduction, and road safety won’t cut it. It needs to take action now to stop the proposed dump site and pass legislation requiring at least 60% of waste to be re-processed by 2025 rather than being dumped into landfills.