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Queenstown's council has been left red-faced after a processing glitch meant 25 tonnes of recycling was dumped in the landfill.
It comes just weeks after the district's new three-bin waste and recycling system began on July 1.
The revelation followed questions from the Otago Daily Times, prompted by concerns from Queenstown residents.
In a statement, Queenstown Lakes District Council maintenance and operations manager Erin Moogan said the council had been planning to store recycling on Queenstown's Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) site while changes were made to the plant to meet "new, very high quality standards for recycling".
The changes took longer than planned, so it was not expected to be operational until late next week, meaning about 25 tonnes of recycling had been sent to landfill instead.
Recycling would be sorted at an alternative site next week.
She said the council recognised it was not "an ideal situation".
"Yet it is important that we set ourselves up well for the future and ensure we're able to have clean, uncontaminated recyclables that reach sustainable markets for the long term."
The much-lauded new system has provided residents with a small rubbish bin (with a red lid), a small glass-only bin (with a blue lid), and a large mixed-recycling bin (with a yellow lid).
Under the new system bins go to different destinations: rubbish to landfill, glass to the O-I factory in Auckland to be made into new bottles and jars, and mixed recycling to the recovery facility in Queenstown to be sorted and baled for sale to the commodities market.
As there was a separate glass bin, the glass recycling had not been affected by the plant upgrade, and about 25 tonnes of glass had been consolidated ready for shipping to the O-I factory.