Glass becomes a problem for recycling companies
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.