Some folk rubbish at recycling

Dunedin City Council waste minimisation education and promotions officer Catherine Gledhill says non-recyclable items such as plastic bags, and polystyrene keep appearing in recycle bins. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Dunedin City Council waste minimisation education and promotions officer Catherine Gledhill says non-recyclable items such as plastic bags, and polystyrene keep appearing in recycle bins. Photo: Gregor Richardson
Dirty nappies and cigarette butts are still finding their way into Dunedin's recycling bins, despite the majority of residents doing the right thing.

Chip packets, plastic bags, coffee cups and polystyrene all might appear to be recyclable but if you have put any of those in your recycling bin lately you may have been left a note telling you to keep them out next time.

The Dunedin City Council is about four weeks into a 12-week inspection programme of the city's recycling bins and results are mixed.

Tags are left on bins which have been inspected, green for correct recycling and orange for bins with some incorrect items.

Bins with red tags are not emptied, because they contained general household waste.

Council waste minimisation education and promotions officer Catherine Gledhill said about 1200 bins had been inspected since June and 70% of them were tagged green.

About a quarter of the bins contained material such as milk and juice cartons which could not be recycled at the Green Island recycling plant.

''We've given them a yellow sticker which is effectively saying, 'hey you've just got a couple of things wrong and this is what you need to remove for next time and you'll be all right','' Ms Gledhill said.

About 5% of bins contained household rubbish and items such as used nappies or cigarette butts, which were not collected, she said.

About 250 bins were rechecked and the rate of contamination declined to about 10%.

Inspectors did not go through bins item by item, but rather had a good look and used their sense of smell.

''It's usually pretty easy to tell the recycling bin is being used as a rubbish bin.'' she said.

While most people knew cigarette butts or old clothing could not be recycled there were some materials such as soft plastics which could cause confusion, she said.

tim.miller@odt.co.nz

 

Comments

Cargill Enterprises IS recycling the plastic bags, so how about being a little more proactive DCC and allow people to put soft plastics in the bin (tied up in a bag, not loose), then hand them over to Cargill.

Oh how silly of me, that doesn't benefit the council in any way so there's no reason to do it.

Mehavesnoname Why not be proactive yourself and send an email to the DCC with your suggestion. It's our rates money so up to us to make submissions and suggestions especially when the staff are working hard at improving the system for us. I didn't know that Cargill Enterprises is doing this so thanks for the information.

Why don't we just sit on our hands for another 30 years paying our Chinese owned waste management company our DCC rates so they can profit by not actually addressing the issue while we try and get bottom of the table in the OECD again? We're rather good at that. Or boot out the corporate fat cats, build a waste to energy plant for $300 million and turn our waste into profit.

Why not consider the workers?

Oh, that's right, that'd mean helping the Council, in a responsible way. We don't do that.