New kerbside recycling targets 17,000 homes across Whanganui

Whanganui’s new kerbside recycling service is rolling out this week as the district council works to get more than 17,000 homes on board.

All residential-rated households in urban areas of Whanganui and some rural settlements, including Mowhānau, Fordell and Marybank, have received a set of recycling crates.

The three crates are for sorting recyclable rubbish into either paper and cardboard, plastics and cans, or glass bottles and jars.

Whanganui recycling - single use only

Recyclables will be collected weekly at the roadside, hand-sorted and disposed of by contractors Low Cost Bins.

The aim is to reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill.

Whanganui District Council waste advisor Stuart Hylton said the first three days of the new service had gone well.

Members of the council’s waste team had followed three kerbside recycling collection trucks since the service began on Monday to monitor progress, identify any issues, and hand out educational material for households who hadn’t quite got it right.

Teething problems had been anticipated, such as people including bottle caps and lids in their recycling. These were not able to be accepted in the new service, even if they were marked as a number 5 plastic.

“In February the Ministry for the Environment undertook a standardisation of what can and can’t be collected in kerbside recycling, and they made the call to not allow bottle caps and lids of all kinds, as they’ve been found to cause issues with machinery in recycling sort lines,” Hylton said.

“Apart from that, we’ve been really impressed with how well people are doing with their crates. They have done well separating material into the right groups – which makes life heaps easier for our contractors.”

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Nationwide changes to recycling

Hylton said some residents had been concerned about wind blowing recycling out of the crates.

“For the most part it wasn’t much of a problem at all, and our contractors were quickly able to tidy stuff up.

“On days with high winds, we’re encouraging people to stack their glass crate on top of their plastics and cans crate, and put a brick (or similar object) on top of their cardboard crate.”

Whanganui recycling - single use only

Whanganui’s three-crate system was almost the same set-up used successfully in Hawke’s Bay, including Hastings, which has one of the lowest contamination rates for recycling in Aotearoa.

Hylton said the council wanted to thank the community for making the effort to recycle.

“We know new systems like this can be tricky at first, so we really appreciate the mahi people have put in so far.

“We hope that those who haven’t tried the new system yet will give it a crack. They’ll find it pretty convenient and easy once they get their head around it.”

Until now, recycling could only be done at the city’s Resource Recovery Centre.

The kerbside recycling service will be funded by a targeted rate for ratepayers in the service area, supplemented by subsidies from the Ministry of the Environment’s Waste Levy.

A kerbside food scraps collection service to urban households in Whanganui will be introduced in a year’s time, starting from July 2025.

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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