Christchurch City Council officials are about to snoop on your recycling.
Are you a gold sticker recycler?
You’ll soon find out as council officials start checking yellow recycling bins over coming weeks.
From Monday a four-strong team will be carrying out spot checks on 7500 bins across Christchurch and Banks Peninsula to ensure residents have not put the wrong items out for recycling.
If you get it right? You get a gold sticker slapped on your bin.
But if you’ve mixed your shopping receipts, bottle lids or plastic bags in with your beer bottles and plastic trays you can expect a note in your letter box with tips on how to recycle correctly.
* Thousands of tonnes of recycling are sent abroad every year – could we fight the war on waste here?
* ‘Recycled’ plastic dumped overseas is being sent back, and residents want no more
* Where does your recycling go from the yellow-lidded bin?
* ‘Consumers’ lazy attitudes’ means two thirds of recycling in central Christchurch goes to landfill
* NZ is ‘very behind’ the world in reducing plastic
* More waste recycling needs to be done onshore in New Zealand, Government says
“Our goal with these ongoing checks is to help residents reduce the amount of contamination they place in their kerbside recycling bins by making sure they are clear about what can and cannot be recycled,” city council solid waste manager Ross Trotter said.
Contaminated recycling is a problem in Christchurch, with 12 per cent of the average domestic yellow bin filled with non-recyclable waste that has to go to landfill.
“The reason why we are putting so much effort into this is because we want to ensure that we recycle as much as possible,” Trotter said.
“The companies that take our recyclable material have a low threshold for contamination. If a load has too much of the wrong stuff in it, they will simply reject it and it will be sent to landfill. “We want to avoid that so we need to make sure people are recycling right.”
EcoCentral, Christchurch City Council’s waste management company, deals with 1000 tonnes of residential recycling every week.
Around 22,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard products – equivalent to about 1000 40ft containers – and 2500 tonnes of mixed plastics are exported annually from Canterbury alone, sent to sites in India and Malaysia.
But international markets have clamped down on what recycling they are willing to take, many refusing to do so because material is often contaminated.
With many countries banning imported wastes, Canterbury is keen to try recycling locally. (Video first published on November 11, 2019)
Chief executive Craig Downie said recycling efforts were too often frustrated by people misunderstanding what was suitable.
“The biggest issue for us is people using yellow bins like a second rubbish bin, and people thinking something can be recycled like lids on a bottle when it can’t be,” he said.
“Everybody has the right idea and wants to do the right thing, but they don’t always do their due diligence and check what can be recycled.”
Residents will now be informed by leaflet drop when bin checkers are operating in their area.
Bins heavily contaminated with non-recyclable materials will be tagged and removed from collection rounds, and residents told why it has not been emptied.
Checked bins will be revisited at a later date to ensure people are continuing to recycle correctly.
The council also has a wheelie bins app that tells people what can go in their yellow bin.
– Cardboard, aluminium cans, glass bottles and jars, metal tins, plastic containers, aerosol cans, paper, plastic bottles and empty cleaning bottles can all be recycled.
– Do not squash or crush bottles and containers, as they need shape for Christchurch’s facilities to sort them correctly.
– Shopping receipts and plastic bags must go in the red bin as they cannot be recycled.
– Rinse recycling to remove debris, empty bottles and throw lids in the red bin.
Don’t forget – a gold star, sorry sticker, awaits.