Recycling increases

Central Otago WasteBusters employee Franky Harris loads cardboard into a new baling machine that...
Central Otago WasteBusters employee Franky Harris loads cardboard into a new baling machine that began operating at the site earlier this week. Photo by Leith Huffadine.

Just over a month into a new refuse collection system in Central Otago, amounts of collected waste are down on the same period last year and the amount of recycling collected has increased.

The Central Otago District Council's new collections began at the start of July, moving from weekly to fortnightly.

Council Infrastructure services manager Jon Kingsford said waste collected in July was down 37% on the July 2013 figure.

At the same time, Central Otago WasteBusters, whose recycling collection system has not changed, reporting increased amounts of recycling.

An increase of 20%-30% had been expected due to the change to fortnightly refuse collections, Mr Kingsford said.

WasteBusters operations manager Ross Pomeroy said it did not have figures but had noticed ''quite an increase'' in recycling collected.

''Out Ranfurly way [there] is a big increase, but ... generally there is an increase in the amount coming off the kerbside [collections].''

Mr Kingsford said one month of data was not enough to reach conclusions or make an assessment of how the system was working.

''We think a minimum of four to six months' data will be required before we start to get a picture on how it is going.''

However, he did think the increase in recycling was directly related to the change to fortnightly refuse collections.

The organisation had received additional funding of $9825 for extra staff, $4145 for staff training and $5619 for health and safety costs this financial year, in anticipation of the increase.

Mr Kingsford said the council had received ''very little'' feedback on the new system but it appeared people were adapting well to the change,Some businesses and residents had taken up the option of a second bin to manage their refuse.

Although they had not been aware of the option, they welcomed it when informed of it, he said.

The first refuse wheelie bin came at a cost of $225 a year and a second bin costs about $207 a year.

People could also buy an extra recycling bin from WasteBusters for $20.

Mr Pomeroy said WasteBusters was considering a night shift to help cope with the amount of sorting of recycled material required.

More volunteers were needed at the non-profit organisation, and the issue would be examined at the annual meeting later this month.

Of about 70 workers at WasteBusters, 45 were volunteers and 25 paid, he said.

Mr Kingsford said there had been no reports of ''fly-tipping'', or illegal dumping, occurring after the change to fortnightly refuse collections.

If there was any, it would be a minority of the population that would do it, he said.

Any cases would be investigated and those responsible would be charged the cost of cleaning up.

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