Published: 22 November 2022
Council ramps up efforts to reduce kerbside recycling contamination
Hutt City Council is appealing to residents to help slash the amount of contaminated recycling that is being collected at the kerbside.
“Unclean items, rubbish that should go in red-lidded bins and dirty nappies are just some of the items that our team is finding in yellow recycling bins. We are now seeing contamination rates rise to unsustainable levels of almost 20%,” says Alison Geddes, Interim Director of Environment and Sustainability.
The more contaminated kerbside recycling that’s sent to landfill, the more Council must pay in increased processing costs and penalty fines. These are currently exceeding $30,000 a month.
“That’s money that could be spent on initiatives to make our city cleaner, greener and more sustainable. We simply can’t afford not to take action,” explains Alison. “If everyone does their bit to recycle correctly, it will extend the current life of the Silverstream landfill.”
Under the new recycling service introduced in July last year, more recycling is being collected from the kerbside: from 413 tonnes per month prior to the new service being introduced to an average 494 tonnes per month today. However, contamination has also increased from about 11% to almost 20% in recent months.
Council bin ambassadors have been leaving green stickers on yellow-lidded recycling bins to advise residents when they are doing a good job. From this week, contaminated bins will receive up to two red stickers and residents may find their recycling bins removed if they continue to be contaminated.
The scheme is backed by a local social media and advertising campaign aimed at dispelling the myths around what can – and cannot – be recycled.
“Only recycling that has been rinsed, and plastics marked 1,2 and 5, can go in yellow-lidded bins. Household rubbish, such as soiled nappies, dirty food containers and other non-recyclable items must be relegated to the red-lidded bins,” says Alison.
“We’ve kept the recycling rules simple to follow for maximum effect. We encourage anyone who is unsure about recycling to check out our campaign and find out what can and can’t go in recycling bins on HCC’s website: www.toogoodtowaste.co.nz.”
For more information about the stickers, visit www.toogoodtowaste.co.nz/reducing-recycling-contamination