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Waste investigators prepare for special operation

17 June 2005

Waste investigators prepare for special operation

The Council is arming SWAP teams for a special three-week surveillance operation at the city’s landfills, starting on Monday 20 June.

Teams of four people from the CitiOperations squad will arm themselves with needle-stick resistant gloves, large aprons, barbecue tongs and face masks then tear into rubbish bags as part of a waste audit to find out exactly what people are dumping.

The Solid Waste Analysis Protocol (SWAP) will be conducted at both the Southern and Northern Landfills and is something the Council has to carry out every two to three years. The Council’s resource consents require it to supply information on waste composition. The last audit was done in 2002.

SWAP is a protocol written by the Ministry for the Environment that sets waste definitions and procedures to be followed in the waste audit. It is designed to help waste managers make decisions on waste disposal rates, recycling rates and reduction targets.

“We are trying to do this on a more regular basis,” says CitiOperations Manager Mike Mendonca. “This SWAP that we are about to carry out answers only some of the questions as it really only defines winter waste, therefore we have to carry out at least one other SWAP within a year. We know that people throw out different types of waste at different times of the year.”

Mr Mendonca says the teams will work around a “picking table”. Staff will sample about 350 rubbish bags a day over five days. They will also sample the refuse being brought in by trucks, taking random scoops of refuse for investigation.

The waste will be sorted into 12 bins: paper, plastics, putrescibles (green waste and kitchen waste), ferrous metals, non-ferrous metals, glass, textiles, sanitary, rubble, timber, rubber, potentially hazardous material. “It’s not going to be nice; food waste is always the worst.”


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