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Recycling: we can do better

Recycling: we can do better

Some Aucklanders are great recyclers but we can do better – up to 20% of the rubbish put in weekly rubbish bags can be recycled.

As part of a national ‘Reduce Your Rubbish’ campaign, the Auckland Regional Council’s Big Clean Up and local councils are encouraging Aucklanders to reduce their rubbish by recycling more.

“Rubbish does not go away. It is always better to recycle what we can than to fill up our landfills with useful materials,” said ARC chair Gwen Bull.

“Filling our landfills with products and packaging that could be recycled is a waste of space and a waste of precious resources.”

“By recycling, we also support local employment because recycling requires people to manually process the materials,” said Cr Bull.

Most local councils provide kerbside recycling schemes. Rodney District Council is considering tenders to introduce a district wide recycling collection service, for possible introduction in July.

Cardboard, paper, glass bottles and jars, cans and type 1 and 2 plastics can be recycled in most areas.

Residents can phone 0800 REDUCE (0800 733 823) to find out about recycling services in their local area. More information is on the national website, http: http:www.reducerubbish.govt.nz

Tips for advanced recyclers:

Rinse your glass and plastic bottles. Make sure your cans are empty – ALL steel cans can be recycled, including empty pet food and aerosol cans.

It is best to take lids off your glass bottles and put them in the rubbish.

Clean paper, cardboard, newspaper, junk mail, envelopes, birthday cards and cardboard boxes such as cereal packets can be put in your paper recycling pile.

Drop off household hazardous rubbish – including batteries, leftover paints, fertilisers and chemicals – to the Hazmobile – phone the ARC 366 2000 or look at http:// http://www.hazmobile.govt.nz to find out when the Hazmobile is in your area.

Auckland recycling FACTS and FIGURES: More than 1800 people are employed in the recycling industry in the Auckland region, both in collecting and processing materials. (Waste Not Auckland report, 1998) Gross turnover for Auckland’s recycling industry was at least $132 million 1995/6 (Waste Not report, 1998) and has grown substantially since.

At least 500 tonnes per day of paper is recovered in Auckland from domestic households and commercial premises, yet still 18-20% of the domestic and industrial waste stream is estimated to be paper. (recent Waste Analysis report) Steel cans are easily recycled, but in 2002, it is estimated that out of six steel cans a week being used by the average New Zealand household, only one was recycled.

Recycling one tonne of steel cans saves 1.5 tonnes of iron ore and 0.5 tonnes of lime, and uses 75% less electricity than making new steel. The cans are remade into products like car exhaust pipes, sheet roofing, nails and fencing wire. (Steel Can Recycling Ltd) Aluminium cans are processed over and over into new aluminium cans.

All types of plastic are recyclable but in New Zealand the market is only big enough to recycle types numbered 1 and 2. Plastic number 1 is Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET), which is the type of plastic that softdrink bottles, biscuit trays and peanut butter jars are made from.

Most of Auckland’s PET bottles are baled up and exported to Australia and China. In Australia they are usually remade into bottles and in China are made into clothing such as jacket insulation. Plastic number 2 is High Density Polyethylene.

Milk bottles, ice cream containers, juice bottles, shampoo, chemical and detergent bottles, buckets, rigid detergent bottles are made from this type of resin.

Most number 2 plastic is reprocessed by New Zealand companies, into recycling bins, compost bins, buckets, detergent containers, posts, pipes and fencing. Plastic shopping bags are not currently collected for recycling into other materials. Tetrapak bottles are also not currently collected.

© Scoop Media

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