Buller council gets tough on recycling contamination

Published date30 March 2022
Publication titleWest Coast Messenger, The
Council's contractor Smart Environmental Ltd (SEL) will label recycling bins with a green, yellow, or red tag indicating if the recycling content meets Buller's recycling guidelines. Recycling bins will be regularly audited as part of the kerbside recycling collection

During the collection, Smart Environmental or Buller District Council staff will visually assess the recycling material. Based on this evaluation employees will label the bin with a green, orange, or red tag.

A red tag means that the recycling bin contains items that are clearly rubbish which need to be deposited as refuse. Examples for items that are refuse but are regularly found in recycling bins are coffee cups, food waste, masks, clothing, nappies, vacuum cleaner bags, ash, plastic bags, crockery, broken glasses, ceramic, and soft plastic wrapping.

Bins will not be collected if they are tagged red. A recycling guide with information why the bin was rejected will be placed in the letterbox to assist residents to improve their recycling.

Buller District Council solid waste coordinator Juliana Ruiz says: "The main objective of the auditing system is to reduce the high level of non-recyclable items put in recycling bins by residents. We wish to educate residents on the effects of recycling contamination; this affects the remainder of the downstream recycling product. Throwing rubbish in the recycling bin is not okay."

Red tag

Residents with a red tagged bin will need take out non-recyclable items and manage these as refuse. SEL will assess the bin at the next collection and determine if the content has improved and can now be collected again. Red tag offenders will be recorded in the database.

Yellow tag

A yellow tag means that a few items in the recycling bin are not recyclable, and other items cannot be recycled because they do not meet the district's recycling guidelines.

The most common mistakes are plastics other than #1, #2 and #5, till receipts, shredded paper, bubble wrap, styrofoam or items which are not clean rinsed, glass jars and plastic containers with lids on. Yellow labelled bins will be emptied by SEL but residents will be notified to check the recycling guidelines and advised to follow them better. If a bin is twice yellow tagged, the bin will be red labelled and not be emptied.

Ms Ruiz says: "A big problem for us is that residents put some of the right things into the recycling but not in the right way. The consequence is that the recycling goes to landfill. Therefore we...

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