Kerb­side bin not for soft plas­tics

Nelson Mail - - NEWS - SARA MEIJ

The sil­ver lin­ing to Nel­so­ni­ans’ re­cy­cling ef­forts is turn­ing into a lead one as house­holds con­tinue to put soft plas­tics wrongly into road­side bins.

Tas­man District Coun­cil waste man­age­ment as­set en­gi­neer David Stephen­son said its con­trac­tor Smart En­vi­ron­men­tal had seen a ‘‘big in­crease’’ in how much soft plas­tic was be­ing put in kerb­side bins.

It seemed ‘‘lots of peo­ple are re­ally keen’’ to re­cy­cle soft plas­tics, he said.

‘‘And that’s great, un­for­tu­nately though, if you put them in your kerb­side bin Smart En­vi­ron­men­tal will not be able to take your re­cy­cling.’’

The most com­mon con­tam­i­nants were shop­ping bags and plas­tic food pack­ag­ing.

Soft plas­tics are too light for the grav­ity-based sort­ing sys­tem at the re­cy­cling cen­tre, jam­ming the ma­chin­ery.

Con­trac­tors were car­ry­ing out ‘‘proac­tive in­spec­tions’’ of kerb­side re­cy­cling bins to check for soft plas­tics.

‘‘Where we find plas­tic bags in the bins we’ll sticker the bin and ask the cus­tomer to re­move the bags and put their re­cy­cling out again in a fort­night.’’

De­spite the in­crease in in­cor­rect re­cy­clables they were ‘‘very pleased’’ that the in­dus­try had ‘‘stepped up’’ to im­ple­ment the soft plas­tic re­cy­cling scheme.

‘‘There has been strong de­mand from our com­mu­nity.

‘‘We’re hop­ing that even more su­per­mar­kets will be able to pro­vide the ser­vice over time,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re also pleased that both Count­down and New World will be phas­ing out sin­gle use car­rier bags next year.’’

New World Nel­son owner-op­er­a­tor Greg Guy said the soft plas­tic re­cy­cling pro­gramme had been ‘‘very pop­u­lar’’.

‘‘Lo­cals are do­ing a great job, they’re putting all of the right kind of soft plas­tics in there.’’

His staff were emp­ty­ing the stan­dard size 240 litre bin four times a day.

Count­down gen­eral man­ager cor­po­rate af­fairs James Walker said the re­sponse from Nel­son Count­down cus­tomers to the soft plas­tics re­cy­cling scheme had been ‘‘fan­tas­tic’’.

‘‘We’re find­ing that the mix of soft plas­tics be­ing re­cy­cled is re­ally var­ied and cus­tomers have quickly got into the habit of bring­ing their re­cy­cling along.’’

Walker said if cus­tomers found the bin to be full, they should let some­one at the ser­vice desk know, who would then come and empty the bin.

Nel­son City Coun­cil group man­ager in­fra­struc­ture Alec Lou­verdis said the coun­cil’s con­trac­tors re­ported re­ject­ing about 50 bins a day be­cause they had in­cor­rect re­cy­clables or con­tam­i­na­tion in them.

‘‘Just over half of this num­ber is due to the pres­ence of soft plas­tics, mainly plas­tic bags.’’

New World, Pak’nSave and Count­down took on soft plas­tic re­cy­cling bins in Septem­ber, when the The Pack­ag­ing Forum an­nounced it was rolling out the Love NZ soft re­cy­cling pro­gramme across the South Is­land.

The pro­gramme is a con­sumer re­cy­cling ini­tia­tive that al­lows peo­ple to re­cy­cle a range of soft plas­tic pack­ag­ing, such as plas­tic bags, plas­tic wrap­pers and news­pa­per and mag­a­zine wrap which pre­vi­ously ended up in land­fill.

The plas­tics are taken to Mel­bourne where the soft plas­tics are made into fur­ni­ture and other durable plas­tic items.

For more in­for­ma­tion on what to re­cy­cle in the bins, go to re­cy­cling.kiwi.nz/so­lu­tions/soft­plas­tics/faqs

MARTIN DE RUYTER/NEL­SON MAIL

Labu Pan’s bi­cy­cle kick goal has won Nel­son Mail pho­tog­ra­pher Martin de Ruyter the best sin­gle im­age award at this year’s NZ Foot­ball Me­dia As­so­ci­a­tion Awards.

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