Glass be­comes a prob­lem for re­cy­cling com­pa­nies

Coastal News - - Front Page - By AMY DI­A­MOND and LES­LEY STANILAND news@coastal­news.co.nz

Has glass be­come as big a prob­lem in our coun­try — and on our planet — as plas­tic??

Wher­ever we go we see glass, plas­tic and cans dumped along the road­sides and now Whanga­mata busi­nesses are at a loss as to how to dis­pose of the large amount of glass they col­lect since Smart En­vi­ron­men­tal no longer col­lects re­cy­cling from com­mer­cial busi­nesses.

Whanga­mata Club man­ager Michael Williams said the can­celled re­cy­cling ser­vice in March this year had caused prob­lems.

“We pro­duce a lot of glass so I think a coun­cil-led ini­tia­tive to re­cy­cle is needed.”

Mr Williams said the Whanga­mata Club had al­ways sep­a­rated their glass bot­tles as they want to be en­vi­ron­men­tally re­spon­si­ble, but the lo­gis­tics of hav­ing to dis­pose of their glass bot­tles was prov­ing dif­fi­cult.

The Whanga­mata Club was look­ing into op­tions of what to do with the large amount of glass bot­tles as the busy sum­mer sea­son ap­proached.

In the qui­eter winter months Mr Williams said the club pro­duced about six full-sized wheelie bins of glass bot­tles and this amount would dou­ble or even triple in the sum­mer months.

Whanga­mata RSA man­ager Kerry Bain agreed there was an is­sue around what to do with the re­cy­cling lead­ing up to the busy sum­mer pe­riod.

She said the RSA cur­rently used a com­bi­na­tion of putting out do­mes­tic green bins and tak­ing sorted re­cy­cling to the dump but is still de­cid­ing the best op­tion to deal with glass bot­tles as more would be pro­duced in the com­ing months.

At the Whanga­mata Ocean Sports Club, a glass crusher was bought to re­duce the mass of glass.

When the new ex­ten­sion was added to the club it took up the space where bot­tles were placed in big bins for col­lec­tion. Now, the glass is crushed and put out with other rub­bish to go to the dump.

Whanga­mata Ma­rina man­ager Sue Amos said she is not look­ing for­ward to the next few months when all the ma­rina berths will be oc­cu­pied.

The bot­tles dumped by boat­ies used to go into big bins and were taken away by Smart En­vi­ron­men­tal. Since the com­pany stopped col­lect­ing the big bins she has had to put out a se­ries of small green bins to be col­lected on Mon­day’s usual kerb­side pick up day.

Ms Amos said she had spo­ken to TCDC and Mayor San­dra Goudie about what she sees as a ma­jor prob­lem but no quick fix had been forth­com­ing.

“It took us a long time to get Clean Ma­rina cer­ti­fi­ca­tion and we’re very proud of what we do here. We don’t want to en­dan­ger that.” Smart En­vi­ron­men­tal man­ag­ing direc­tor Gra­hame Chris­tian said for many years the Smart En­vi­ron­men­tal team had been pro­vid­ing what had ef­fec­tively been a free ser­vice to com­mer­cial busi­nesses through­out the re­gion.

“Many have taken ad­van­tage of our col­lec­tions and placed out com­mer­cial re­cy­cling that is funded by house­hold rates, but at a cost to us. This could not con­tinue.”

Mr Chris­tian said there was in­suf­fi­cient value in the glass re­cov­ered from these lo­cal busi­nesses to cover the cost of col­lec­tions.

He said Smart En­vi­ron­men­tal had en­deav­oured to work with var­i­ous par­ties to seek a con­tri­bu­tion from them to cover the “rea­son­able costs”.

“Only a few were will­ing to pay and of those who did pay we en­coun­tered a lot of con­tam­i­na­tion. We there­fore de­cided to cease the col­lec­tions.”

Mr Chris­tian said Smart En­vi­ron­men­tal was a com­mer­cial busi­ness and “we need to en­sure that what we do is prof­itable and it is rea­son­able that com­mer­cial busi­nesses pay for a col­lec­tion”.

He said busi­nesses were able to drop glass off at their lo­cal trans­fer sta­tions at no charge.

■ Maybe we should re­turn to the old days when bot­tles re­turned to dairies at­tracted a small re­fund. Kids used to make pocket money scout­ing around for dumped bot­tles.

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