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Recycling contamination clean up - South Waikato Council

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Contaminated recycling in the South Waikato - both from recycling drop off zones and household crates - is costing too much!

"We need to clean up our recycling behaviour," said Phil Burt, Council’s Infrastructure and Maintenance Manager. "Contamination levels in our collection trucks are too high to take to the Croad Place recycling facility, so much of our recycling is going to landfill. This is not sustainable long term."

Council will be clamping down on poor behaviour at the recycling drop off zones through the introduction of improved signage, recycling education to householders, increased infringement regime and a rostered on-site presence to assist users.

Mr Burt also said that Council’s contractor has been instructed to no longer empty contaminated urban household recycling crates from mid-July.

"Council is rolling out an extensive education campaign, including adverts, social media, flyers, displays in our public venues," he continued. "We encourage every householder to read and understand this information flyer."

There are three key changes we need to make to clean up our recycling - only plastics 1 and 2 can be recycled, all items must be cleaned, washed or rinsed, and all lids, caps or tops need to go into the rubbish because regardless of material they are made from they are too small to sort efficiently.

"Due to changing world markets, only plastics 1 and 2 can be recycled. Plastics 3 to 7 must be put in the rubbish bin," said Mr Burt. "Besides incorrect plastics, we find other non-recyclable items out in our recycling, including polystyrene, soft plastic bags, fabric, dirty nappies, fastfood bags (with or without leftovers) and broken household items (chairs, buckets etc). These items need to go in your rubbish."

Another key contamination issue is dirty, un-rinsed, unwashed items or items that have food waste on them. Recycling product needs to be clean.

"Unwashed items such as milk bottles or dog food cans contaminate clean recycling," he continued. "Pizza boxes with food sticking to the cardboard and fastfood packaging that is greasy and has food scraps on it need to go in the bin."

Lids, caps and tops can be a confusing issue. Some of these items are made from plastics 1 and 2, but are too small to be processed efficiently. Lids, caps and tops need to go in the rubbish.

Council encourages householders to recycle correctly.

We also remind everyone that our recycling drop off zones are not rubbish dumps! Recent behaviour may result in these facilities being removed. Council - and the ratepayer - can simply not continue to pay to clean up after people who are behaving poorly and not taking responsibility for their own rubbish.

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