High contamination rates in Porirua’s kerbside recycling has prompted an initiative that will see ‘recycling ambassadors’ checking recycling bin contents before collection, Porirua City Council has announced.
It said that due to a rising level of contaminated items in the recycling – costing between $6000 and $8000 a month to remove – the ambassadors will be checking what’s being put out for collection.
A month-long audit starts next week and will gather information and data to help identify specific areas where Porirua’s high contamination levels are and target our education and support for those residents.
Following the audit, Council will introduce a 3-Strikes process. This means that if it finds non-recyclable or contaminated items in a bin, the bin will receive a sticker – receive three stickers and you could lose your bin.
Similar initiatives are occurring in other cities, including Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin, with positive behaviour changes being experienced and less loads ending up in the landfill.
The recycling industry relies on good quality, clean recyclable material, says Porirua’s Manager Water and Waste, David Down.
“Material is hand-sorted before it goes through the machines and we’re regularly seeing hazardous items such as dirty nappies, sanitary items, broken glass and rotting meat,” he said.
“This is something we all need to do better – sending recycling to the landfill costs the city and the environment, and has health and safety implications for staff collecting the bins and at the sorting facility.
“We can all play our part by checking what’s in and what’s out. Clean and rinse your glass, plastics and cans, and remember not to put in lids or soft plastics.
“If we work together we can make a positive difference.”
A recycling ambassador is currently in place at the Bulk Recycling Facility at Spicer Landfill, Mr Down said.
He said more detailed information on the 3-Strikes process will be delivered to households following the audit.