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Call For Solutions To Problems Facing Raetihi's Unmanned Recycling Station

Council is calling on the Raetihi community to help resolve challenges with the unmanned recycling station on SH4 which could place its future in jeopardy.

In addition to the $60,000 per year cost to service the recycling station it has been plagued by a number of operational and environmental challenges that demand immediate attention.

Executive Manager Infrastructure Vini Dutra said Council was seeking ideas and support from the community for a long-term, sustainable solution, that would address the site's challenges.

"We are open to considering all options, and while closure would be a last resort, we may unfortunately need to do so if the issues cannot be resolved," he said.

“The unmanned facility is grappling with a range of inter-related issues including excessive volumes, improperly presented recycling materials, contaminated recycling, and non-recyclable rubbish being dumped at the site.

The facility often becomes cluttered and unsightly, with recyclable materials overflowing and littering the surrounding area. This not only poses a visual blight but also creates health and safety hazards, attracting pests and risks contaminating local watercourses and drains.

Uncleaned and improperly sorted recyclables render a lot of the recyclable material non-recoverable. As a result, much of what could be recycled is instead sent to landfill, further increasing costs and environmental impact.

Moreover, the presence of non-recyclable rubbish, including food waste and occasionally animal carcasses, exacerbates the problem,” he said.

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“The current situation at the recycling station is simply unsustainable.

Council and our contractors are spending considerable time and effort managing these issues straining our limited resources and diverting attention from other community needs.”

Mr Dutra added that with current financial pressures Council has received feedback that the yearly $60,000 cost of maintaining the site could be better redirected elsewhere.

It has been highlighted that Raetihi residents already have access to good waste management alternatives including weekly curbside rubbish, recycling, and food scrap collection services, along with the nearby Waimarino Transfer Station in Ohakune.

There is a view that we need to make better use of these existing services, which are both more efficient and environmentally responsible," he said.

“The decision on the future of the decision unmanned recycling station will be guided by community feedback and the effectiveness of any interim solutions to reduce the current strain.

The closure of the site would be a significant step, but it may become necessary if we cannot together resolve the ongoing issues. We invite the community to work with us to find the best path forward.

The issue is on the Agenda for the next Waimarino-Waiouru Community Board meeting on Thursday 2 May. If residents have ideas for resolving the issues please talk with your local Council or Community Board member, or alternatively, email

Clive Manley

Chief Executive

Ruapehu District Council

Raetihi unmanned recycling bin issues. Photo supplied.

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