Lower Hutt’s rubbish and recycling services to get big upgrade

This evening Hutt City Council met and agreed to upgrade the city’s kerbside rubbish and recycling services – the biggest changes in over 20 years.

From 1 July 2021, all Lower Hutt households will receive one wheelie bin for rubbish, another wheelie bin for mixed recycling, as well as a crate for glass. Households will also be able to opt-in to receive a green waste bin.

Lower Hutt Mayor Campbell Barry says rubbish and recycling services are a core function of local government, and the changes agreed follow an extensive process and will modernise these services to ensure they are fit for the future.

“People across Lower Hutt have made it very clear that our current recycling service is not up to scratch. That’s why when I was elected Mayor, I strongly signalled our Council would urgently progress changes to bring our kerbside recycling service into the 21st century,” Campbell Barry says.

“The decision made today will mean that from 1 July next year, households across our city will have a modern recycling service, similar to what has been in place in other cities for many years.  This will significantly increase the capacity of kerbside recycling collection.”

As well as introducing an improved kerbside recycling service, Council has agreed to implement a rates-funded rubbish collection service.  This will mean all households in Lower Hutt will receive a wheelie bin for general waste.

“Together with changes to recycling, Council funded rubbish collection will result in savings for most households who put out at least one bag of rubbish a week, and create a city-wide system that incentivises people to maximise recycling and dispose of their waste in a responsible way.”

“Ultimately this is about getting the basics right, and making sure we deliver services that benefit everyone in our city,” Campbell Barry says.

By rolling out the new system to all ratepayers everyone in our community will now have easy and affordable access to kerbside rubbish and recycling services says Council’s Chief Executive Jo Miller.

“This is the single biggest change Council has made to improving sanitation, and reducing the amount of rubbish around our city. The decision by Council will have a significant and positive impact on our environment. An effective recycling system will cost the city less over time as landfill charges increase.”

Council will now move to negotiate a contract with the preferred supplier and commence work to roll out the new service. This will be accompanied by a campaign to inform householders about these changes.

More information on the changes can be found by visiting hutt.city/binchanges and people can sign up to hutt.city/binupdates to receive updates on the roll-out.

Further information 

The new rubbish and recycling collection service provides Lower Hutt’s ratepayers a choice on bin size and associated costs that will assist in incentivising a reduction of rubbish. These options will be in effect from 1 July 2021:


  • $2.77* per week for a 120L bin (default option) – annual rate is $144*
  • $2.19* per week for an 80L bin – annual rate is $114*
  • $5.54* per week for a 240L bin – annual rate is $288*


  • $2.02* per week (targeted annual rate will be $105* for recycling collection) regardless of bin size
  • Council is also looking to make the recycling service free to the 200+ schools, early childhood centres and kōhanga reo in our city. This will be consulted on next year as part of the Long Term Plan.

Optional Green Waste

  • Collected four-weekly for garden waste only – $1.83* per week ($95* annual charge)

Food waste

Options for a food waste trial in Lower Hutt will be developed in partnership with social enterprises.

*indicative prices

What are the changes that Council has agreed to?

Recycling: Households will receive a 240-litre wheelie bin for mixed recycling, and a crate for glass – both collected fortnightly.

This new approach will address the problems with the current crate where it is not large enough to contain recycling which then ends up as litter in the environment.

Recycling charges will increase to $105 per year. This is an increase from the current charge of $40 per year and breaks down to $2.02 per week.

Households are able to opt for a smaller wheelie bin for recyclables such as a 120-litre bin.  The estimated targeted rate will be $105 per year regardless of the bin size.

We’re also planning to make the recycling service free to the 200+ schools, early childhood centres and kōhanga reo in our city. The cost of providing this free service to schools will be spread across ratepayers. Based on information from a neighbouring council, the cost will be less than $2 per year.

Rubbish: Households will receive a 120-litre wheelie bin collected weekly (default size)

An 80-litre or 240-litre bin could also be selected but this would have to be by 31 March each year because of the way rates are set.

Estimated targeted rate per property per annum from 1 July 2021 (based on weekly collection)

  • $144 or $2.77 per week for a 120-litre bin (default option)
  • $114 or $2.19 per week for an 80-litre bin
  • $288 or $5.54 per week for a 240-litre bin

Green Waste: There would be an estimated $95 charge for this service. Households would only pay for the green waste service if they have chosen to opt in. The green waste bin would only be available for garden waste, not food waste and would be collected every four weeks. You would need to opt in by 31 March each year.

How much will this cost?

To compare the cost of what you currently pay to the new rubbish and recycling system, go to our calculator on hutt.city/costcalculator

I already buy rubbish bags will this be cheaper?

To compare the cost of what you currently pay to the new rubbish system, go to our calculator on hutt.city/costcalculator

Can I change my bin size?

Yes. For recycling you will be able to choose a 120L bin if the default option of 240L is too large. The charge will remain the same.

Yes you can choose from 3 rubbish bin options:

  • 80L
  • 120L (default)
  • 240L

Why is Council changing rubbish and recycling?

Protecting our environment is a concern for many people. Stopping rubbish entering our waterways and reducing what we send to landfill all helps. We can all do better and especially if we have a properly functioning rubbish and recycling system for our city.

Every year, on average, every person in the Wellington region sends more than 600kg of rubbish to landfill. We need to overhaul the current system for rubbish and recycling to provide a service to residents that meets your needs, reduces the amount of litter entering our waterways, and reducing what we send to landfill unnecessarily.

What’s wrong with the way we currently collect rubbish and recycling?


  • Recycling crates are too small, requiring community recycling stations to take the overflow.
  • Illegal dumping at recycling stations causes contamination, which is costly to remove.
  • Litter is often sent flying on windy days; it can get into our stormwater systems and lead to ocean and beach pollution.
  • It is not a full cost service. Users are expected to pay for their own crates and nets.


  • There are many health and safety risks for the people who collect rubbish bags.
  • Increasing costs of bags could lead to more illegal rubbish dumping.
  • Bags are prone to ‘animal strike’, e.g. damage from rats, dogs, and cats
  • The market is increasingly moving towards alternative collection models with bins.

What does this mean for community recycling stations?

­­­­Council’s existing recycling stations are unsupervised and prone to abuse. They attract illegally dumped waste and the recycling collected there tends to be highly contaminated. Due to the increase in capacity for collecting recycling at the kerbside (currently about 50 litres per week vs about 150 litres per week in future), these recycling stations will be removed.

The recycling station in front of the Seaview transfer station is privately operated, and not directly affected by Council’s changes.

When will the changes for rubbish and recycling happen?

By 1 July 2021 every householder in our city will be using the new system.

I have an annual contract, do I have to pay both? Can I get out of it?

If you currently use rubbish bags, then you do not need to do anything. We will be in touch with you to make arrangements for this new service. If you currently use a private collection service we advise you to make relevant changes to your current collection arrangement.

From 1 July 2021, all properties will be provided with a rubbish bin, collected weekly. The service will be charged through rates and you cannot opt out. You may wish to make changes to your existing arrangements or contracts so that they finish on 30 June 2021.

Should I renew my current service?

From 1 July 2021, all properties will be provided with a rubbish bin, collected weekly. The service will be charged through rates and you cannot opt out. We advise you not to sign-up for a contract or have a contract in place that extends beyond 1 July 2021.

Is there an opt-out option?

From 1 July 2021, all properties will be provided with a rubbish bin, collected weekly. The service will be charged through rates and you cannot opt out. You could decide not to use the Council service for rubbish or recycling, however, there would be no reduction in your targeted rate.

Can I still use rubbish bags?

Because of the problems experienced with the rubbish bag collection service, including health and safety risks for the people who collect rubbish bags and the risk of damage from animals, Council will not be continuing a rubbish service using rubbish bags after 30 June 2021.

I’m trying to reduce waste – why should my rates have to pay for a rubbish bin?

The new rubbish and recycling collection service is designed to reduce waste to landfill by increasing capacity at the kerbside for recycling, by being able to use a smaller bin for rubbish for a lower cost, and by offering a new green waste service.

We want to ensure everyone has access to a rubbish collection service in order to minimise the risk of illegal dumping.

There are different sized wheelie bins for rubbish: 80-litres, 120-litres or 240-litres. The cost would depend on the size of the bin. This bin will replace Council’s existing weekly rubbish bag collection service or replace your private bin collection service.

How can we ensure our rubbish and recycling service reflects changes in technology and waste minimisation practices?

Council will want any new contract to keep pace with technological advances for rubbish and recycling collection methodologies. Officers will negotiate for clauses in any new contract that cover advances in technology and practices to minimise waste.

What about residents in units or apartments?

For multi-units and apartments, an assessment will be carried out in order to determine the appropriate course of action. For example, we could offer an alternative collection service with 660-litre bins, provided the bins can be accommodated in a dedicated waste management area on the property. We will be in touch with the property owner in due course.

How would elderly residents, those with disabilities or mobility challenges access the new services?

Council will provide an assisted wheel-out and wheel-in service whereby the service provider will handle the bins.

What about residents with long hilly driveways?

Residents could utilise a tow-bar attachment in order to take bins down their drive-ways, or where that may not be feasible, they could store their bins closer to the road.

What about residents along narrow rural roads?

In some cases, the normal collection trucks cannot be used on narrow rural roads for road safety reasons, as is already the case along the Wainuiomata Coast Road. In this case, an alternative collection service would be provided, such as by using smaller non-standard collection vehicles that can access individual driveways. An assessment will have to be carried out to determine the appropriate course of action.

What about people who rent their property?

The rubbish and recycling collection service will be paid for by the landlord as part of the property’s rates. We will give everyone plenty of notice of any change. We will encourage landlords and tenants to talk about their requirements and to select an appropriate bin size.

What are the benefits of the change?

Increased recycling: Introducing bigger recycling bins means that households can recycle more.

Reducing wind-blown litter: The new recycling wheelie bins (and rubbish bins) will be fitted with lid-latches to avoid recyclables becoming litter, especially on windy days.

Protecting the value of recyclable materials: Bins with lids would protect recyclables from rain, and by collecting glass separately we can protect the value of other recyclables, especially paper and cardboard.

Safer: Changing from rubbish bags to wheelie bins for rubbish will improve health and safety for rubbish collection operators, by reducing injuries.

How would I fit all the bins on the kerb on collection day?

You would not necessarily have to put all bins out at once. The collections of different bins may be in alternate weeks.

We’re aware that for some houses, like those with shared driveways, flats down a right of way, or those on a cul-de-sac, kerbside space may be shared by many bins. There would be further work undertaken to identify these areas and provide solutions.

Would I have to purchase the new bins?

No. Property owners will pay for the service through rates and bins would be provided as part of this.

Would it not be better to continue to use rubbish bags?

A typical 120-litre wheelie bin usually weighs less than 10kg; its useful life is estimated at 15 years.

A typical Council-funded 60-litre rubbish bag is made up of 0.0272kg of plastic. Assuming rubbish collection over a 15 year period, a household would require approximately 1,560 rubbish bags (weighing approximately 42kg in total) to deliver the same rubbish capacity as a 120-litre bin.

Would the introduction of a city-wide Council rubbish collection service not result in lots of bins associated with private service providers getting dumped?

Most service providers do not just operate in Lower Hutt, but elsewhere in our region and the country, and they often offer residential as well as commercial services. It can be expected that private service providers will redeploy those bins that are in good working order elsewhere, and this would delay the need for them to purchase new bins.

What’s the timeline if the recycling and rubbish system changed?

  • 16 July to 16 August 2020 – Community feedback on service changes
  • 15 September 2020 – Decisions on service changes made
  • 16 September 2020 – 30 June 2021 – Getting ready for the service changes
  • 1 July 2021: Service changes in place.

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