Recycling in landfill 'not an option'

Ian Featherston
Ian Featherston
Stockpiled recycling will not be put in the landfill if no new market can be found, the Dunedin City Council says.

It is not known what will happen to the giant mound of plastic, but the council has told its contractors putting it in the landfill was ''not an option''.

About 150 tonnes of recyclable plastic types 3 to 7 is being stored at the council's Green Island plant while China, the city's main market, continues to reject imports of some recyclable plastics because of minor contamination from other materials.

The position has put off the brokers who sell Dunedin's recyclable plastic from sending the material to China in case it was rejected, prompting them to seek new markets.

Council solid waste manager Ian Featherston this week updated councillors on the situation, and addressed staff concerns about the lack of revenue from recycling.

He said it was hoped China would drop its ''green fence'' in November after a review.

He told Cr Jinty MacTavish, who raised the question of alternative plans for the waste, that he expected to hear from the contractors before other options for the material were discussed.

Dunedin's recyclables were collected by EnviroWaste and sorted by Fullcircle Recycling, which on-sell the plastics to brokers in Australia.

Selling Dunedin's material to South Korea or India had been investigated.

Indications were that there were issues there, too, in that the market was quite specific, which might require resorting of the stockpile.

In the meantime, contractors had assured the council they could store, without issue, the estimated 200 tonnes of plastic waste that could be on the site by November.

Cr Lee Vandervis raised the issue of the fire risk associated with the pile, to which Mr Featherston said contractors were aware of it and were managing it.

Councillors were warned that should the issue not be resolved and revenue from sales not regained, targeted rates for kerbside recycling would have to increase next year by $5 to $69 a year to cover the cost of the service.

To an inquiry from Mayor Dave Cull, Mr Featherston said that would still be less than the $73 per ratepayer per year it would cost to dispose of the plastics in the landfill.

- debbie.porteous@odt.co.nz

 

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