Hastings’ kerbside collection of plastic and cans for recycling will resume on July 1, after being placed on hold during the COVID-19 lockdown.
Hastings District Council group manager asset management Craig Thew said council was keenly aware that the community was anxious to recycle plastic and cans, and for rural communities to have rural recycling centres reinstated, which had been closed during the lockdown.
“We are pleased to be able to offer more services now we are operating under Level 2, starting with the recycling centres at the Henderson Road and Blackbridge Transfer Stations.
“We know there has been frustration that council hasn’t been able to fully resume the kerbside recycling service. Unfortunately COVID-19 arrived at a critical time when we were set to change contractor on May 1, to Smart Environmental.
“Under Level 4 many things had to stop, and even under the Level 3 restrictions it has been challenging for Smart Environmental to gear up.”
The global restrictions of COVID-19 meant that Smart Environmental experienced delays importing specialist equipment and were unable to have truck builders working to prepare the new purpose-built trucks.
As a solution during Level 3, Mr Thew said council’s outgoing contractor GreenSky agreed to extend their contract to provide a continued limited service to the community - picking up glass, cardboard and paper from kerbside.
“GreenSky has been excellent helping us collect most types of recycling, but having already sold their building and having decommissioned some equipment, they were unable to collect plastics and cans when this became achievable under Level 2 restrictions.
“If plastic and cans had been collected in Alert Levels 4 and 3, it would have gone to landfill, as has been the case for other councils due to safe working requirements preventing sorting facilities from operating.
“We are very passionate about reducing waste to landfill, so it’s been far from ideal to have these items going to landfill at any level. We are really looking forward to resuming collection of plastics and cans in July with the certainty they will actually be able to be recycled.”
Council last week announced the transfer stations at Blackbridge and Henderson Rd would be opening to take recycling on Wednesday this week - bookings are required to visit these facilities as part of council’s continued management of public health and safety.
Plastic and cans would be accepted at these sites as the contract with Waste Management Ltd has also been extended to enable the collection, sorting and recycling of these items at their Napier facility.
“We have had to keep making decisions with the options we have available to us in a constantly changing environment. With the delayed start of Smart Environmental the real risk was the community would have had no kerbside recycling at all until Smart started – thankfully GreenSky has been able to cover the gap,” Mr Thew said.
The recommencement of paper and cardboard collection was council’s first priority given that this is recycled here in Hawke’s Bay, and the product produced used by the region’s horticultural industry.
Glass is the second priority with markets in Auckland needing product to keep their process going.
Mr Thew said that in Level 2 the manual sorting facilities were only just starting up, so it was unfortunate that cans and 1 and 2 plastics collection from the kerbside could not resume until Smart Environmental start in July.
“However, we are pleased to be able to offer some level of plastic and can recycling at the transfer stations until the new service begins.”
Rural recycling stations are also set to make a comeback, delivered back on site through a staged process. Once installed the sites would operate as normal, although people will be asked to maintain physical distancing and good hygiene.
Mr Thew said he knows it has been a long wait for rural communities, and was pleased they will soon have access to this service again, although it was important to use them correctly.
“There have been regular occurrences of illegal dumping, recycling not being separated correctly, or still containing foods and liquids.
“Even worse items such as used nappies and animal waste being dropped at these stations.
“Sadly when recycling is contaminated like this or contains non-recyclable plastics like polystyrene and bags, it’s not accepted by recycling facilities and often the entire load ends up in the landfill. In some cases it is happening so often that it is putting this service in jeopardy.”
The bins at Tutira, Poukawa, and Mararekakaho will be back in place and ready to be used from this Saturday, May 23.
It is planned to have the bins at Waimarama and Pukehamoamoa installed early next week.
The re-opening of the site at Martin Place in Havelock North is still being worked on in terms of meeting the Level 2 requirements for safe operation, as this site has more potential for large numbers to congregate.
However, the transfer station facilities at Henderson Road and Blackbridge are available for recycling (bookings required) along with the urban kerbside collection service.
The new rubbish collection service is still on schedule to commence at the start of July. With the delivery of 120 litre wheelie bins starting at end of this month.
20 May 2020
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