Contaminated mixed recycling

QLDC shakes up recycling of public rubbish

  • Nov 09,2020

From QLDC:

The way we use public litter and mixed recycling bins across the district is set to change as part of Queenstown Lakes District Council’s commitment to optimising local recycling.  

QLDC General Manager Property and Infrastructure Peter Hansby said the change follows an independent ‘sort-and-weigh’ audit to capture data on the quality, composition, and volume of recyclable content collected through these public place bins. 

“The results of the audit highlighted generally good quality material in the glass only bins and high volumes of clean aluminium drink cans in the mixed recycling bins, however overall it found we have issues with contamination of our mixed recycling bins.  Paper, cardboard and plastics were heavily contaminated by food and liquid waste meaning they couldn’t be recycled,” Mr Hansby said.

“Materials from public recycling bins are being processed at the Materials Recovery Facility, but only if the material is not contaminated with non-recyclables or food or drink leftovers,” Mr Hansby said.

“Recycling is not just about technically recyclable materials, but collecting them in a clean and uncontaminated condition,” said Mr Hansby.

Like glass bottles, aluminium cans are not normally contaminated by food or liquid after use, and can be recycled many times without loss of quality.

“The audit showed us that single stream collection of glass recycling in our public bins is working well. The change to a single stream collection for aluminium cans will have a positive recycling outcome because we know the cans are clean enough to be recycled, so long as they're not contaminated by other dirty or non-recyclable materials in the bin," Mr Hansby said.

The changes will be coming into effect over the next two weeks and will see:

  • All existing 2-way bins (currently made up of one mixed recycling and one rubbish bin) will change to rubbish only.
  • Existing 2-way bins at Queenstown Gardens (currently made up of one mixed recycling and one rubbish bin) will change to rubbish and glass recycling.
  • All existing 4-way bins (currently made up of one mixed recycling, one glass and two rubbish bins) will change to one glass, one aluminium cans only and 2 rubbish bins.
  • New 4-way bins installed in Hawea and Kingston to ensure these communities have consistent access to public place recycling with the rest of the district.  These bins have been ordered and will be installed when they arrive in early December. 

Mr Hansby acknowledged there is a lot of change happening in the waste and recycling space at the moment with the recently announced changes to the kerbside service coming in on 1 December and reinforced the Council’s commitment to working together towards zero waste.

Good rubbish - clean aluminium cans

“These changes will mean we’re able to provide more certainty that the materials put into the public place recycling bins will be recycled,” he said. 

“We know that change can be challenging. We’ll be rolling out new signage across the bins over the coming weeks, we ask that you keep your eyes peeled and double check before disposing of items when you’re out and about,” he said.

 

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