Silverstream Landfill a top tip
It’s hard to be passionate about landfills but Bruce Sherlock is a strong advocate for the Silverstream Landfill As the Hutt City Council officer responsible for Silverstream, he is proud of the way it operates and the role it plays.
It is the only landfill in the region classified as Class A by the Ministry for the Environment, it also generates a profit for the council.
‘‘Landfills are good. You have to have landfills and this one is a considerable asset to the region.’’
People have negative views of landfills but Sherlock believed there were many positives.
Methane extracted from the Silverstream landfill produced enough electricity to serve an area the size of Stokes Valley.
A thick membrane lining stopped leachate getting into the Hutt River but allowed the tip to take many items that would otherwise be a risk to the environment. Sherlock understood that some people didn’t like landfills and wanted the council to put more effort into recycling to reduce the amount of rubbish in the tip.
Compared to landfills like the one operated by Wellington City, there was little recycling at Silverstream. Earthlink takes material, mostly bric-a-brac, to its factory for refurbishing and sale, and some metals are also recycled.
The council has also looked at recycling green waste for compost.
Sherlock recycled at home and generally believed it was a good thing. It encouraged people to think about the environment and made residents aware of their level of house-hold rubbish.
The pros and cons of recycling were not, however, as straight forward as many people assumed, Sherlock said.
Green waste was a good example. When the council looked at recycling green waste, the only interest was from a composting company that said it would charge the council $200,000 to collect their waste.
On top of that, there would have been a reduction in tip fees and the amount of electricity produced, would have declined.
The annual cost of managing the Silverstream is approximately $6million.
It gets 900 vehicles a day in the summer and 60-70,000 cars and trailers a year.
It gets120,000 tonnes of refuse each year.
The landfill services 50,000 homes and businesses in Lower and Upper Hutt.
It was the same with changing the current system of household recycling. He agreed that the open recycling bins used in Hutt City were not ideal. There had been a call to move to wheelie bins but he pointed out that would be expensive.
As well as the initial one-off cost, about 10 percent of the bins would need to be replaced each year.
‘‘If you are going to divert material from the landfill, you have to have a really good understanding of the cost and the environmental impact.’’
Bruce Sherlock is proud of the Silverstream Landfill and the role it plays for the Hutt City Council.