14 October 2008

Rubbish collection, New Zealand style

One of the first things we learned about living in New Zealand is their rubbish collection. Rubbish is more commonly known in our country as garbage. So if you're having a conversation and you hear them declare that what you're saying is a load of rubbish, it's not a compliment. Bwahuhuhu!

For an orderly rubbish collection, you need two things: a council bag and a kiwi bin. Council bags are huge, yellow plastic bags where you place your non-recyclables in. It costs around $9.00 for 5 pieces, and can be bought at grocery stores (ask for it at the counter). You are allowed to load up to 15kg per bag. More guidelines are printed on the bag itself.

Next is the kiwi bin. If you're renting a flat, your landlord should give you one. But if it's not available, you can buy this for $10 at the Library. It's a green, plastic container into which you place your recyclables such as paper and bottles (plastic and glass).

There is a schedule for rubbish collection; you need to ask about this from your landlord, neighbor, or from information centers such as the library. In our case, it's on Mondays at around 8:30AM. We bring out our rubbish after 5:30PM on Sunday. The collection team for general rubbish collection is different from the recyclables team.
For houses that generate a lot of rubbish, you need a bigger bin. This type is collected on Tuesdays in our area.

I believe that this method of rubbish segregation works because you have a visual of where to put your recyclables and non-recyclables. And since collection is once a week, people are motivated to dispose properly of their refuse or else they'd have a smelly kitchen or backyard.

Supporting the rubbish collection scheme are campaigns to make your own compost out of biodegradable stuff from the kitchen. Some gardening stores even offer tutorials and you can buy your supplies from them to start and sustain a worm farm of a compost heap.

The council bag and kiwi bin concept may not work in our country, but we can still follow a similar theme in garbage segregation and actively support backyard composting.

Oct 16 update: I learned that you do not need to buy a kiwi bin for your recyclables. A clear plastic bag will do, and they will collect it. I haven't seen a lot of transparent plastic bags, though. I wonder if the more popular white ones will do.


  1. Makes one kinda sad to see how people in other countries have a working system in place for things like these while in the Philippines... er, all is "rubbish," so to speak. Sigh...

  2. Meowok: In our neighborhood in Baguio, they have devised a schedule for picking up non-recyclable garbage and recyclables. I'm not sure if it's being followed, though. For our part, we have resorted to "returning" biodegradable refuse in our small garden. Unfortunately, Baguio is currently in a huge rubbish problem right now...

  3. Well we a the same system in Belgium... but the plastic bags are so expensive that some people start to dispose their garbage in public spaces... which is of course illegal and if you are caught will cost you a high fine.

    I think it is now required by law to segregate your garbage in the Philippines. The problem as always... there is a law... but no enforcement.

  4. grabe ... can I just

    "ohmmm shanti shanti" :P

    golf golf golf... :P thats all I can say... and why oh why you left me at this time of the year!!!! :P hahahahaaha... i can hear you and chu laughing at me from miles and miles away :P

    what the heck :P

    say hi to ms. tina and baby jolo...

  5. Hehe, meron akong kakilala sa Baguio na bulukin na lang daw niya ang basura niya kesa mag segragate siya between bio-degradable and non-biodegradable. "Adu la amin nga ammo da" sabi niya. Ang arte-arte daw ng Mayor to introduce this kind of project.

  6. Sidney: if you convert the $9 for the plastic bags here, it would be around P300. That's P60 per bag! Expensive too. Good thing there's just 3 of us here so we fill up one bag in 2 weeks. We have a separate container outside to accumulate trash.

    That's the problem if the laws are not implemented, and the lax attitude has been going on for the longest time.

    Follen: Of course not. Diba you're supposed to leave right after I do? I wish I can help nga e... I know how stressful that golf event is.

    Ting: at least, he is correct in one aspect: the reduce his waste by composting. However, if he burns up his refuse, including plastics, it's not a good idea because plastics create toxins in the air when burned.

    Another problem in Baguio is that the dogs are allowed to roam about freely. And then the garbage collection is designated in one area. So come nighttime, the dogs have a party at the dump and scatter the rubbish everywhere. :-(

  7. pauline and nick. what is this "leaving talk"? hmm??? =(

    heniway, why is it called a kiwi bin? you used to put kiwi fruit there?

    we are starting to make people aware here in the philippines but i believe more effort should be exerted. like when you go see a movie, they show this whole MMDA segment re waste management. and in Marikina City, they even give you those sticks with pointy edges to pick out paper from the ground

  8. I think its just another "sanayan" issue. When the people here in Baguio get used to segregating their rubbish, then it would be easier for the local government to introduce schemes to lessen waste also. Have you heard that the city government is considering the Mt. Santo Tomas area as another area to build their so-called sanitary landfill?

  9. dessagirl: ah eh.... :-)

    jmagreda: really? Isn't it there's a Passion of the Cross display there with huge figures? And it's also popular for trekking. Plus, it can be seen from many points in Baguio. I don't think it's a good idea to make it a dumpsite.

  10. Anonymous10:19 am

    Good if that was the case. What he meant by "bulukin na lang daw niya ang basura niya" was to leave his garbage on the sidewalk kung hindi pupulutin ng mga basurero hanggang mabulok siya.

    Here in Canada, the government spends more on recycling than earn from what they recycled. It is the idea of saving the environment that they care about more than anything else.

    We don't pay for rubbish bags. We are provided with recycling bins and bags for recycled items and we buy our garbage bins (one time) for our garbage.


  11. Ting: ha? Haan nga mabalin ah.

    That's really nice! And you know that your taxes are working for you,di ba?

  12. it was a joke noh :P serious naman nito ni sir nick :D hahahaha... well, believe it or not, mas na stress ako kay imee... hahahaha... confirmation on friday, cold hard cash DP on monday :P hahaha... ganun ang emote nya :P

    ah eh :P dessagirl, na shock ako kay papol... grabe... ganun na ba talaga akong di nakikita sa opisina :( so sad... wala nang papol sexy... na pressure tuloy akong mag pa sexy :D bwhahaahaha...

    miss you sir nick!!!! :P si kenneth lang nicha-chat mo! hmmp! :P

  13. Follen: anong hot news ito? wala na si Papol?

  14. yeah... sadly :( I've only known about it last week when she ask me to sign papers :(

    ang sad noh... shes not gonna be there for christmas... :(

  15. Anonymous3:39 am

    Hi Nick,

    I'm linking this post to my newest one which deals, well, with garbage (I've been not wanting to write about it).

    Since Baguio has a waste disposal problem, it must not only look into segregation but also into waste reduction -- just Jollibee and McDo alone throw out so many "disposables" that Baguio has never been accustomed to when the diners used to go Star Cafe or Dainty.

    With all the students comes all that trash...

    ps. I do not care if the bags are pricey (the city is getting too cheap for my taste these days, coddling all the squatters) the extra amount for the bags can go to the city expenses for waste management -- as long as no one lines their pockets along the way.


  16. Hi Lisa! I'm happy to learn that you found this post useful. Yes, Baguio really needs to seriously address the garbage problem. Although I see it in the papers and our local community in Camp 8 is trying to do segregation, it still isn't enough. I like to think that New Zealand and Baguio has many similarities: blessed with green surroundings but with a big problem on rubbish. We can emulate things they are doing here: get businesses in gardening educated in composting and worm farms; in turn, they can hold sessions and lectures for the commnunity and visitors. Schools - even colleges - can receive visits from an environment agency to discuss, or schools can even enforce this. Think tree planting expanded to other areas of conservation.

    The local Library plays an important part in education here; I'm sure we can also make our library just as vibrant.


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