Sil­ver­stream Land­fill a top tip

Upper Hutt Leader - - FRONT PAGE - NI­CHOLAS BOY­ACK

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.

A FEWFACTS

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.

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