As the Wanaka district gears up for a busy festive season, those in the recycling industry are preparing for their usual busy period. Simon Henderson talks to Wanaka Wastebusters general manager Sue Coutts about a new initiative to help manage the district’s recyclables.
Waste glass in the region will get a new lease of life, Wanaka Wastebusters general manager Sue Coutts says.
For the first time glass waste from Queenstown and Wanaka would be able to be sent to Auckland to be recycled, she said.
This was one of the benefits of a new seven-year contract between Waste Management New Zealand, Wanaka Wastebusters and the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC).
The new contract begins in July next year with a three-bin system, allowing separation of mixed and glass recycling.
“We partnered with them [Waste Management] to put in a bid to council’s tender process.”
The two organisations were able to focus on their strengths, Ms Coutts said.
“Wastebusters has got a long track record of being involved in community education and waste education”.
The agreement enabled Wanaka Wastebusters to continue its education programmes, and it would be able to do more to help residents and visitors make the best use of the council’s new waste services, Ms Coutts said.
The three-bin system comprised a 140-litre wheelie bin for waste, a 140-litre bin for glass recycling and a 240-litre bin for mixed recyclables.
Having a separate collection for glass was one of the main benefits of the new three-bin system, Ms Coutts said.
“It means the option of sending the glass to Auckland to be made back into bottles.
“Up until now most of the glass that has come from Queenstown and Wanaka hasn’t been going up to Auckland to be made back into bottles and jars, and that was one of the main things that people were really keen to see change.”
Waste Management managing director Tom Nickels said the company would provide high-quality residential waste and recycling collection services, effective recycling processing and easy-to-use disposal and resource recovery facilities.
“Alongside these services, the Wastebusters team will bring their local experience and expertise to provide community-based education and resource recovery services,” he said.
Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult said the new district-wide solid waste services contract would deliver a vastly improved service to the community.
More details on how the new contract services would be rolled out to the community would be available soon, he said.
QLDC property and infrastructure general manager Peter Hansby said each year about 1500 tonnes of glass was collected through the kerbside service in Wakatipu and about 545 tonnes from Wanaka.
The residential kerbside recycling from the Wakatipu ward went through a specialised piece of machinery called a materials recovery facility (MRF) at the recycling centre.
“This machine sorts the recyclable materials into different commodities such as tins, cans, plastics, paper and card, which are then squashed, baled and sold to various recycling markets.
“Glass is also separated out through the MRF, but as it is contaminated by other recyclables, it is of low value and unable to be sold,” he said.
“At present, this glass is going to landfill, where it has been assisting as a face stabiliser, preventing the need to import other materials for this purpose.”
Waste glass in the Wanaka ward was collected separately and then sold to Auckland, where it was recycled into glass bottles.
Remaining recyclable materials were processed and sold with the Wakatipu recycling.
“The Wakatipu community have strongly indicated their desire to change and also be able to recycle glass.”
That could be done via a bottle bank, but it would be made much easier from July 1, when glass would be collected separately across the district.