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Aucklanders recycling more

18 August 2004

Aucklanders recycling more

Regular waste audits show that Auckland city residents are on the recycling bandwagon.

The audits show that 36,204 tonnes of waste were recycled in the 2003/2004 year compared with 35,049 tonnes the previous year, an increase of 3.3 per cent.

Councillor Bill Christian, chairperson of Auckland City’s Works Committee, says the results are pleasing.

“Since the changes to our waste collection services in 2001, Aucklanders have really supported recycling. It is encouraging to see the figures are still increasing,” he says.

The increase was largely due to a 777 tonne increase in the amount of paper recycled.

There was, however, a decrease in the amount of plastics put out for recycling. 813 tonnes of plastic were recycled in the first six months of this year, compared with 895 tonnes in January to June 2003.

Mr Christian says a waste audit that followed the changes to the collection of plastics for recycling last November could be the reason for the decrease.

“Last year we decided that it was no longer viable to collect grade 5 plastics. It is to be expected that confusion about which types of plastic can be collected would result in more people simply putting all their plastics in the green wheelie bin instead of out for recycling,” he says.

Plastics are usually grade 1, 2 or 5 and the number can be found in a triangle on the bottom of most packaging.

“Residents can find out what grade their plastics are by checking this number. Grades one and two bottles from kitchens, bathrooms and laundries can be put out for recycling in the blue bin. We do not collect other materials for recycling, including grade 5 plastics,” explained Mr Christian.

The total amount of waste sent to landfill on the isthmus increased from 77,003 tonnes in 2002/2003 to 78,118 tonnes in 2003/2004, an increase of 1.4 per cent.

“The audits we do each year regularly show that two thirds of what is currently collected through the green wheelie bins could be diverted for recycling and composting.

“We offer the recycling service and paper is privately collected. We need residents to play their part and help decrease the amount of waste going to landfill,” Mr Christian says.

On Waiheke Island, there was a continued increase in the amount of material put out for recycling and a decrease in the amount of waste going to landfill.

The amount of material put out for recycling on Waiheke Island was up 17 per cent from 2002/2003 and the amount of waste going to landfill decreased 14 per cent.


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