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Early signs good for new recycling service

December 19, 2005

Early signs good for new recycling service

North Shore City's new recycling service has led to a significant increase in the amount of recyclable materials being recovered.

Three months after the introduction of larger, mobile recycling bins - as part of a joint contract with Waitakere City - the amount being collected for recycling has already increased by seven per cent.

That figure is expected to jump to around 20 per cent by the end of June next year - or an additional 4000 tonnes, says North Shore City waste minimisation team leader, Bradley Nolan.

"We expect the amount to continue to grow as our residents become more familiar with the system and the timing of collections," he says.

The joint contract began on July 1 and saw 75,000 140-litre 'wheelie bins' delivered to properties throughout North Shore City, replacing the old 40-litre crates. The fortnightly collection service aims to reduce waste and encourage people to recycle more.

"The ultimate goal is to reduce the amount of rubbish we are sending to landfill," says Mr Nolan.

He reminds residents that only recyclable plastics (grade one and two), glass bottles and jars, and steel and aluminium cans should be put in the mobile recycling bins. Paper should be bundled and tied securely, and left beside the bins every fortnight.

Regular household rubbish continues to be collected on a weekly basis.

Mr Nolan says at present there is no discernable decrease in the amount of waste collected through the pre-paid refuse service.

However, the amount of household rubbish going to landfill does appear to have levelled off, where a year-on-year increase is the norm.

"Our population is growing steadily and normally we would get an increase in the amount of rubbish produced and sent to landfill."

Meanwhile, the commercial reality of recycling means that the cost to the council of providing the service also continues to rise, and remain significantly greater than that for landfilling.

"But it is a cost that we must bear as disposal to landfill is not sustainable long-term," says Mr Nolan.

Many things need to change, on a national and local level, to ensure environmentally acceptable and affordable solutions for our future waste disposal are found, he says. These could include the introduction of waste levies and producer responsibility mechanisms.

Locally, the council's contractor, the Onyx Group, continues to seek improvements in its systems and services.

Currently only plastic types one and two can be accepted for recycling, but the company is committed to securing markets for other types of plastic.

It has also improved its handling techniques and processes to reduce the incidence of glass breakage, and has introduced machinery to make product from the broken glass.

"All in all though, these first quarterly figures are very good news," says Mr Nolan.


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