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NZ's largest recycling service begins 1 July

28 June 2005

New Zealand's largest recycling service begins 1 July

*** New recycling sorting centre also opens, marking another NZ first for Councils

A new fortnightly recycling collection service using blue and yellow mobile wheeled bins will be launched in Waitakere City on July 1 and in North Shore City on July 4.

Residents, as well as participating schools and businesses, will have their recycling collected from 140-litre mobile recycling bins (wheelie bins) instead of the smaller 45L crates currently used in both cities. Paper and cardboard, to be placed separately beside the recycling bins, will also be collected fortnightly.

More than 15,000 tonnes of recycling - enough to fill over 73 Olympic swimming pools - will be collected every year from both regions and then brought to a new sorting facility, the only one of its kind in New Zealand. Located at Waitakere City's Refuse Transfer Station, the sorting facility will employ at least 11 new staff when it officially opens on July 1.

"The ultimate goal of these new waste minimisation initiatives is to reduce the amount of rubbish we are sending to landfill," says Waitakere City Councillor Janet Clews. "By working together with our neighbours on the Shore we are gaining efficiencies in several areas that will benefit both cities financially and environmentally. The combined volumes of recyclables that we will collect from both cities make this project a viable business operation."

These combined recycling volumes are projected to increase by more than 200 tonnes per month within a year's time.

Glass, metals and plastics from New Zealand's fourth and fifth largest cities will be tipped into a hopper and then fed onto a conveyer belt where all but the metals will be sorted by hand. Steel and aluminium will be pulled up off the belt by electro-magnetic and electrical current separators. The system, designed by Auckland-based engineering firm Alert Engineering Ltd., is designed to cope with the forecasted increase in recycling.

"Although common overseas, we are not aware of any Council in New Zealand using a system of this magnitude, particularly one that involves glass." says Mike Huddleston, CEO of Onyx Group Ltd., the company responsible for building and staffing the operation, as well as collecting the recycling from both cities.

The new recycling collection programme will replace the more hazardous and costly method of sorting recycling on the kerbside, where collection staff manually lift heavy crates, tip them into the truck and sort the contents in the middle of busy roads.

Street litter will also be reduced, as the bins will protect the items inside from being blown about by the wind, some of which end up blocking stormwater drains.

The new blue and yellow mobile recycling bins that have been delivered to all households free of charge are three times the size of the crates they are replacing, and will make it easier for people to waste less and recycle more.

"The easier you make it for people to reduce rubbish, the more likely they are to do it," says North Shore City Council's infrastructure and environment committee deputy chairperson Chris Darby. He says these types of waste minimisation initiatives are vital for the long-term health and sustainability of the region.

A purpose-built fleet of vehicles painted with an eye-catching new theme emphasising recycling and waste reduction will be collecting all recycling and rubbish from both cities.


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