Just not cricket: Fan shocked at recycling effort

The Hagley Oval is a popular cricket ground for fans of the game - but its recycling practices...
The Hagley Oval is a popular cricket ground for fans of the game - but its recycling practices are being queried. Photo: Getty Images
A cricket fan has been left gobsmacked after finding recycling efforts at Christchurch's Hagley Oval were quite literally rubbish.

Avid recycler Sue Craig-Stewart - from Kakanui in North Otago - told RNZ's Checkpoint presenter Susana Leiataua she was watching the Black Caps take on Australia at the ground last month.

She was delighted to see recycling bins around, but decided to investigate where all the plastic ended up - and was shocked by what she found.

"It was good to see that the green bin was there, because previously in 2021 I had been to the Oval and there had been no recycling bin at all.

"We watched people doing the right thing, putting ... cans, plastic bottles into the green bin. But [they were] also putting some coffee cups and a bit of cardboard, which I know... can't be recycled in the same way because it's usually compostable.

"However, the bins were being emptied throughout the day, taken away in plastic bags, and I didn't notice anything on the bags to indicate which was which."

Craig-Stewart saw the bags of recycling being collected - and decided to follow the person carrying them.

"I saw him put both bags - from the landfill bin and the recycling bin - directly into skips and it became obvious that they were not being sorted. You could see clearly there were aluminium cans ... that could be recycled."

'Green washing'

Craig-Stewart took some photos and wrote to the council about what she had seen. She also called the contractor responsible for the waste and recycling, who confirmed everything had been sent to landfill.

"This is green washing. It's terrible ... that people think they're doing the right thing and everything is ending up in landfill."

She said this was not an isolated case and had been to many events around the South Island where there was no recycling.

"This is just something that I'm passionate about. I've been recycling for a long, long time and my husband and I make a huge effort to do so, and I don't think we're being fully supported by the people we pay rates to."

Venues Ōtautahi chief executive Caroline Harvie-Teare said although there were recycling and general waste bins at Hagley Oval, products could not be recycled due to contamination.

She said although that event did not have a sorting scheme, many other events did, including the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific games.

Harvie-Teare said they acknowledged that on this occasion their waste management approach should have been better.

There was no blame on guests at Hagley Oval and Venues Otautahi needed to invest in the right waste management infrastructure to encourage and enable the right behaviours, she said.