A landfill is a very complex facility, requiring the latest in technology to ensure the natural by-products that come with the burying of rubbish do not pollute our waterways, land or air. Omarunui Landfill has a Class A rating. It is not open to the public (except for organised tours), and commercial operators require a licence to be able to dispose of rubbish at the site.
What we don’t upcycle, recycle or reuse goes to the landfill . . .
As waste educator Kate Meads says in her eye-opening videos, ‘There’s no little magic man running around cleaning up after us!’
Rubbish does not just disappear; it is either upcycled or recycled, or goes into a hole in the ground – albeit a highly engineered hole, designed to protect the environment as much as possible.
That is the reason for the emphasis on upcycling and recycling – to keep as much as possible out of the landfill for two very good reasons:
The environmental concerns around landfills are well-documented, particularly the potential for leachates to get into waterways and the emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
Perhaps less well known is the huge cost of constructing a new landfill pit once the current one is full. It is estimated that the current general rubbish pit at Omarunui Landfill [link to page 15; Omarunui landfill] (shared by Napier and Hastings) has about eight years of life left in it if we keep dumping at the current rate – an average 84,000 tonnes a year.
To replace the pit is estimated to cost about $25 million – with most of that driven by the need for comprehensive engineering solutions to protect the environment. Those include installing an impermeable barrier over the full breadth of the proposed dumping area, and laying of pipes and installing pumps to remove leachates and gases.
We are very fortunate in Hastings to have local markets for all of our paper and cardboard recycling, and to have a market for our glass within New Zealand. For a raft of information on kerbside recycling, minimising waste and upcycling and recycling, click on the related pages tab at the top of this page.
The landfill is the last option for our rubbish, and our team makes every effort to ensure that it has as little impact on the environment as possible. Omarunui landfill [link to page 15; Omarunui landfill] has a Ministry for the Environment Class A rating and a state-of-the-art waste to energy plant.
Landfills will continue to be necessary until we find some alternative ways to deal with the rubbish that we cannot upcycle, recycle, compost or use in some other way.
But we do need to put as little into landfills as possible – both for environmental reasons and because of the cost of building additional tipping areas once the current one is full. That cost is estimated at about $25 million. At the current rate of dumping, a new area will need to be constructed in about eight years.
The good news is that more than half of the average 86,000 tonnes a year of rubbish that goes to the Omarunui Landfill could easily be recycled or composted – all we have to do is do it!
If half of the rubbish going to landfill was diverted, that would mean 43,000 tonnes less to landfill – the equivalent of 43,000 small cars (which weigh about a tonne each).
Omarunui Landfill, to the west of Taradale, is jointly owned by Hastings District Council and Napier City Council. It opened for operation in late 1988. The rubbish that goes to the landfill comes from the Hastings and Napier transfer stations [link to page 17; transfer stations], the kerbside rubbish collections [link to page 10; kerbside rubbish collection] (not the recycling [link to page 9; kerbside recycling]), as well as from businesses using commercial collection companies.
It is not open to the public.
The two councils, Napier and Hastings, are committed to providing an environmentally responsible waste disposal site which safely contains all waste on-site, complies with legal requirements, and seeks to continually improve environmental performance.
Omarunui Landfill has a Ministry for the Environment Class A rating, which recognises its extensive pollutant control and the practices in place to ensure effective environmental protection.
Of particular note is a gas to energy project at the landfill. It turns methane, a by-product of burying rubbish in a landfill, into electricity. The resulting electricity is sold back into the grid. The gas to electricity initiative, which has been operating since 2015, now produces about 1000 kilowatts of electricity a year, enough to power about 1000 homes for a year.
The project is a partnership between Hastings District Council and Pioneer Energy.
The landfill is open from 8am to 4.30pm Monday to Friday to commercial operators/contractors with an Omarunui Landfill Waste Disposal Licence.
To apply for an Omarunui Landfill Waste Disposal Licence email Hastings District Council with 'Omarunui Landfill license application' in the subject line.
Disposal charges for commercial/industrial trucks and trailer units are here: Omarunui Landfill Charges.
Additional penalty charges may be charged in the following situations at the discretion of the landfill manager:
Where does your waste really go when you throw it ‘away?’ If you are interested in taking a tour of the landfill with your workplace, community group, or school group, then please get in touch with the waste team at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Omarunui Landfill, Puketapu, Hawke's Bay
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