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Smart Environmental will end its kerbside collection service next year, after losing its council contracts. Photo: SUPPLIED

Job losses likely for Smart

Losing three kerbside collection contracts in a single stroke is “disappointing” for Smart Environmental, who may now have to cut jobs and relocate its Kōpū hub.
Hauraki, Thames-Coromandel, and Matamata-Piako district councils announced last week they had awarded 10-year contracts to Waste Management NZ to provide the three districts with kerbside collection and processing of recycling and rubbish.
It means Smart Environmental’s 10-year contracts end on August 31, 2023.
Smart Environmental chief executive Todd McLeay told The Profile losing the contracts would “absolutely” have an impact on workload and employment.
“The vast majority of our staff are involved in jobs related to those contracts, and we won’t have the same scope of population, so while we’ll have some things we’ll continue to do, we’ll have to work with our staff over the next 18 months around helping them transition.”
Mr McLeay said the Kōpū facility processed material from all across the North Island and was a “hub” for recycling.
It was at risk of being relocated, he said, though decisions on its fate had not yet been made.
“A reasonable portion of that product [at Kōpū] comes from the local area, and if we’re not the kerbside collector contracted to do that, then it would make more sense for us to relocate that [facility] closer to where the rest of the product is being sourced.”
Waste Management will take over from September 1, 2023, but until then, Smart Environmental will continue to provide its usual kerbside collection throughout the region, including over the busy summer season.
Mr McLeay said the company was disappointed not to retain the council contract, but he was proud of the work they had done over the past nine years.
“And we’ll continue to do a good job until the end of the contract, and we’ll be looking after our staff.”
Both the Hauraki and Thames-Coromandel Mayors gave their thanks to Smart Environmental in statements.
Hauraki Mayor Toby Adams said the past decade had been a challenging time with many changes to the waste and recycling industry, and Smart had “done a good job”.
Thames-Coromandel Mayor Sandra Goudie echoed his sentiments.
“The Coromandel is a difficult district to serve, with lots of communities separated by hilly terrain, road closures from bad weather, and large numbers of visitors over summer and long weekends – it’s challenging and they’ve done a good job.” Mayor Goudie said Waste Management was selected for the contract following a “robust procurement and tender evaluation process”.
“At approximately $80 million over the next 10 years, this is a hugely significant contract for our district. Tenders we received from companies interested in providing our solid waste services were very carefully scrutinised and evaluated.”
The new Waste Management contracts will also implement a food waste collection for each of the districts, with the company looking at “phasing in” electric trucks as battery technology improves.
General manager for the Lower North Island, David Howie, said his team was “delighted” to secure the contracts.
“Our aim is to provide services that are sustainable, user-friendly and people focused. We will give the people of eastern Waikato world-class waste services they can be proud of.”