Plastic recycling is changing the world over, and we must change with it.
Hastings District Council has been responding to residents’ questions on recycling as its contractor tightens up on what it will and won’t pick up on the kerbside recycling run.
In the first of several major changes, Green Sky Waste Solutions is phasing out picking up recycling that is in bags (plastic, cloth and paper), citing the inability to easily see if recycling is contaminated or if it includes things like broken glass that pose a risk to collectors.
The company this week [March 8] agreed, however, that it would continue to collect see-through bags (not dark or paper) containing recycling for four weeks [to April 5], to allow time for the message to be sent out to residents.
The move is part of an increased emphasis on ensuring that collected plastic is clean and not mixed with other non-recyclable rubbish.
Rejected recycling is being left at the kerb with a sticker noting the problem. If recycling is left without a sticker, or the sticker is not marked to indicate the problem, residents should ring Green Sky on 0800 229 732 for further information.
And there are more changes coming given that options for recycling plastic, particularly internationally, are reducing rapidly.
There are companies in New Zealand that will take some plastics for recycling, however these products are limited to clear and opaque rigid-sided containers such as milk bottles (not white light-proof ones), clear soft drink bottles, and clear laundry and bathroom bottles that have the numbers 1 and 2 stamped on them.
“Recycling plastic is an international problem that has left councils and contractors trying to dispose of plastics that nobody can use. This includes coloured and white plastic (regardless of number), and most plastics numbered 3 to 7,” said Hastings deputy mayor and Joint Waste Futures Committee chairman Tania Kerr.
“It is an issue that all councils are having to deal with and changes are coming very quickly. Like others, we are seriously looking at reducing the plastics we collect. These new global rules are having a significant impact on what can be recycled into new products. We should have a decision on that by the end of the month.”
At the time of that decision, new information on exactly what plastics can be recycled, and the containers that can be used to put them in at the kerb will be widely publicised.
“We need everyone’s help to make this change. We have no choice in this; if people put out mixed plastics then whole batches of recycling will go to the landfill. We need to make sure we separate the plastics that can be recycled, and support the business-led organisations that are working to find alternative solutions for problem plastics,” said Mrs Kerr.
The current rules: Clean plastic containers stamped with the numbers 1 to 7 [not soft plastics, takeaway coffee cups, polystyrene, or foil packets] can be put out for kerbside recycling, however it should be noted that only the items listed under preferred materials, below, will be recycled. Clean tins and aluminium cans can still be included with plastic recycling.
Your recycling should be at the kerb by 7.30am on your collection day, sorted into crates or boxes, one for glass, one for paper and cardboard (boxes flattened), and one for plastics and cans. The maximum weight is 10kg per container.
Preferred materials (and the likely change come the end of the month): Clear and opaque rigid-sided plastic containers stamped on the bottom with the numbers 1 or 2. This does not include coloured plastic of any sort, white light-proof milk containers, soft-sided plastic containers (eg berry/tomato punnets), meat trays or foil packets.
In all cases, recycling must be clean: Wash it before you recycle it.
“Remember, people have to handle your recycling and should not have to cope with dirty, smelly waste,” said Mrs Kerr.
8 March 2019
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