‘Poor effort’ recyclers need education

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Recycling contractors have found a heat pump, clothing and women’s sanitary pads in wheelie bins a month into Ashburton’s new recycling regime.

The Ashburton District Council, like most others in New Zealand, is now only collecting plastics 1, 2 and 5 in its yellow recycling bins. Glass is recycled in the green crate.

Staff have been walking ahead of contractors checking out recycling bins for compliance since the new system started on August 1.

Between August 12 and 21, they rejected 485 bins, sending households a “very poor effort” letter and noting their address for another audit. Another 234 bins were partially rejected, where non-recyclable items were taken out and put into mailboxes; these households went sent a letter saying the items that were removed couldn’t be recycled.

Households who had followed the new rules were sent “well done” letters.

Council’s infrastructure services manager Neil McCann said photos of the rejected bins, along with their address and reasons for rejections were logged for auditing and tracking.

“Our sorting facility has advised there have been improvements from previous audits, however we are still at 20 per cent contamination.”

The biggest offending items found in recycling were bottles with caps (caps are not allowed) and takeaway packages (which are also not allowed).

Mr McCann said council hoped to encourage better recycling by performing bin audits and educating residents.

Contractors reported some of the larger and very unacceptable items found in wheelie bins were a heat pump, drier, oven, large toys, lots of clothing, lots of glass, lots of nappies and women’s sanitary pads.

Each truckload of recycling rejected by the sorting facility in Christchurch costs $1064 to send to Kate Valley.