Regional Organic Materials Recovery (OMR) Facility
In July 2021, Taranaki’s three district councils (South Taranaki, Stratford and New Plymouth) decided to investigate the possibility of building and operating a regional Organic Materials Recovery Facility to divert potentially thousands of tonnes of waste from going to landfill from across the region.
One of the key targets in our Waste Management and Minimisation Plans, as well as our emissions reduction targets, is reducing the amount of waste going to landfill, with a specific focus on organic waste (i.e., food waste, green waste) which can comprise up to 60% of the amount of domestic waste currently being unnecessarily thrown out and sent to landfill.
This nutrient-dense organic waste could be used for so much good, namely by recycling it to create fertilisers and compost, or even the creation of low-emissions renewable biofuels through anaerobic digestion processes.
Central Government is also introducing some initiatives over the next couple of years that mean a local facility that can process this type of waste safely and sustainably, with minimal emissions from the processing and transportation phases, will be needed by Taranaki’s three councils if we are to continue to provide an effective kerbside collection service for our residents.
From the beginning of this project, iwi and hapū have been key partners in exploring and considering how best to manage the recovery of organic materials across the region. A number of critical bottom lines from a te ao Māori viewpoint were developed from this engagement process, and these have been integrated into the assessment criteria used to develop options within the final feasibility report, and recommend next steps for further development of this project. The AATEA report linked below details the results of our iwi engagement work.
We have also engaged with industry stakeholders across the region who are producing significant quantities of organic materials that require management, and we will continue to partner with them on the next steps.
Read more about it:
A feasibility study, completed by Tonkin & Taylor and funded by the three district councils, has just been completed and the findings are going to each Council to be discussed, with next steps to be decided upon.
This feasibility study collected region-wide organic waste data and investigated options for how Councils might best manage and recover various organic material waste streams from across the region, and stop them going to landfill. It also covered a range of ownership and operating options, processing technologies and scale factors, as well as expected sales opportunities and key price points for the end products produced, which could include biogas and organic composts and fertilisers.
Over the next couple of months, reports are being discussed at Council meetings across the region.
At this stage, there has been no decision made as to where this facility (or facilities) will be based in Taranaki.
Organic waste comprises up to 60% of the domestic residential waste that currently goes to landfill from the Councils’ kerbside collections. Not only would a regional organic materials facility be a way to try to divert this from landfill and use it for good, we are also trying to take a proactive approach to changes we know are coming from central Government (namely the national standardisation of Council-run kerbside collections, the mandatory inclusion of separated green and food waste in Council-run kerbside collections, and initiation of container return deposit schemes – all anticipated to happen in the next two years). See more on the MFE work on waste nationally here.
Reducing the amount of waste going to landfill is also a key focus within our Waste Management and Minimisation Plans, and will be a key component of being able to achieve our emissions reduction targets.