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Whanganui District Council set to launch kerbside recycling service

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Whanganui District Council has taken notes from its counterpart in Hastings, which also uses three recycling crates. Photo / Hastings District Council

Crates have been ordered and vehicles are being assembled for Whanganui’s kerbside recycling service.

It will begin on July 1 but the contractor is yet to be revealed.

Aiding the rollout process is $1.25 million in funding from the Ministry for the Environment’s contestable waste levy fund, which Whanganui District Council has used to purchase 53,100 50-litre crates for collections.

Urban households will receive three crates – for plastic and cans, paper and cardboard, and glass bottles and jars.

Council waste adviser Stuart Hylton told the operations and performance committee the ministry funding had meant an adjustment to the contract with the company providing the new service.

The contract would be signed within one to two weeks, he said.

In a statement to the Chronicle, the council said the three-crate system had been chosen to minimise contamination due to non-recyclable items being included with recycling.

Standardised recycling rules for all district and city councils came into effect on February 1, with only glass bottles and jars, cans, paper and cardboard (including pizza boxes), and plastics numbered one, two and five accepted.

“Contamination has been a major issue for many wheelie bin-based recycling services across the country,” the council said.

“Using crates will enable us to quickly spot contamination at the kerbside and prevent non-recyclable items from entering our recycling system.”

In Rotorua, items such as such as dirty nappies, dead animals, clothing and broken homeware have been found in recycling bins this month.

Rotorua residents use a lidded wheelie bin for kerbside recycling.

Hylton said the council had worked with Hastings District Council on the project because “their methodology is exactly the same as ours” and utilised three crates.

“The contamination rates are very, very low – the lowest in the country,” Hylton said.

“Their presentation rates are the highest in the country as well.”

All the crates could be filled up with the same recycling product if needed, Hylton said.

“If you have a party one weekend, you can put out three crates of glass.

“Every household is different in terms of the products they consume and want to get rid of.”

Thirty-six rules for the service have been set out in a proposal for the council’s new solid waste bylaw.

Crates need to be put out between 5pm the night before collection day and 7am on collection day.

Councillor Rob Vinsen asked if products and crates would get blown around in the wind.

Hylton said crates could be stacked and turned upside down once emptied.

“Fibre on the bottom, glass on the top, all that kind of thing.

“There are also things you can purchase to out over a crate if the wind is high.

“[Crates] won’t be going out on a day your rubbish goes out, for the sheer number of bins on the street on a given day.”

Councillor Kate Joblin asked if people who lived out of town or didn’t have the opportunity to use the service could still recycle at the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre

Hylton said it would be “business as usual” for those residents and the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre would remain open after July 1.

Speaking to the Chronicle, council chief executive David Langford said the service would be urban but there was nothing to stop it expanding in the future.

Residents with access to it could not opt out, he said.

“We want as many people as possible to use the service, because that means waste will get recycled instead of going to landfill.

“If you’re in the urban area, it’s going to get added to your rates.”

Detailed modelling by the council in 2022 revealed an estimated annual rates increase of $134.16.

Langford said people might be able to cut their household costs as a result of the kerbside service.

Kerbside pick-up could mean only a small general waste bin – paid for privately – was needed.

“Or, they need picking up less often,” Langford said.

Mike Tweed is an assistant news director and multi-media journalist at the Whanganui Chronicle. Since starting in March 2020, he has dabbled in everything from sport to music. At present, his focus is local government, primarily Whanganui District Council.

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