What happens to our kerbside recycling?

As households prepare for the start of Queenstown Lakes District’s new waste collection service on July 1, many people may wonder what exactly will happen once Waste Management picks up and sorts our recycling after kerbside pick up.

A Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) spokesperson said rubbish will be transported to Victoria Flats landfill in Gibbston Valley. Currently, rubbish through Wānaka Refuse Transfer Station is on average 754 tonnes per month year to date, according to QLDC senior communications advisor Rebecca Pitts. “In addition, there’s an average of 51 tonnes per month of glass (collected kerbside) and an average of 124 tonnes per month mixed recycling (collected kerbside),” she said.

She noted that kerbside glass will be transported to O-I NZ in Auckland for recycling, and Council will collect plastics classification numbers one through seven for recycling. “All of the materials collected go through a specialised piece of machinery called a ‘Materials Recovery Facility’ at our recycling centre in Frankton,” said Pitts. “This machine sorts the recyclable materials into different commodities, such as tins, cans, plastics, paper and card, which are then squashed, baled and sold to various recycling markets. Buyers indicate what they are willing to pay for our various recycling products, and these are then recycled by those traders or on sold to be recycled. The market changes regularly, but an example of one trader sold to in the past is Visy.”

To help ensure maximum recycling power, Council urged households to pay attention to what goes inside the three different wheelie bins. “The key things that will contaminate mixed recycling are: coffee cups, nappies, tetra pak, lids, plastic bags/soft plastics and aerosols,” said Pitts. QLDC endorses the motto “if in doubt, leave it out” and emphasises putting only clean glass bottles and jars into the glass recycling bin. QLDC indicated that all other glass goes into the rubbish bin, including drinking glasses, heatproof glass, like Pyrex, and window glass. Clean plastic bottles, container numbers one through seven, paper, cardboard and cans are to be placed into the mixed recycling bin.

Under the new waste services collection plan, rubbish will be collected every week with glass and mixed recycling bins collected on alternate weeks.

As for soft plastics, the recycling collection service is still suspended within the South Island, only being restarted in select North Island locations. Plans to migrate the The Love NZ Soft Plastic Recycling scheme back down to the South Island remain unclear, but it is reported the phasing will likely occur within the next 12 months.


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