Recycling Glass in the Bay of Plenty – The problems explained plus solutions offered – Waste Minimisation tahi

March the 1st 2018 saw the end of glass recycling in the Bay of Plenty, as we know it, when ‘Waste Management’ refused to take glass within our kerbside collection.

There’s heaps of questions generated around waste, and i certainly don’t know the answers to all these juicy questions, and interestingly enough within the ‘waste industry’ there seems to be many anomalies, or hidden information, or which i’ll let you in on, in another post dedicated to coffee cups.

BUT FOR NOW…

I have half an hour before school and kindy pick up, so to accompany my lady grey and homemade anzac, i thought i’d whip up a quick – what i know, that you may like to know, about our current glass recycling debacle – update.

Types of Waste, Who Pays, and Kerbside?

In the Bay of Plenty residents pay for their rubbish/waste (let’s refer to it as waste from here on in, as it’s the more up-to-date term, and conjures a little more personal responsibility than ‘rubbish’ does).

Landfill
In some places waste costs (including landfill and recycling waste) are ‘built into’ a home-owners rates, which ratepayers give to council. Residents can buy pre-pay bags to put their waste in before putting it out on the kerbside/roadside once a week. Others can choose to pay a yearly fee and ‘rent’ lidded-plastic-wheeled rubbish bins to put their waste into which once again is picked up weekly from the kerbside.

Recycling
Discerning residents can pay additional fees for another bin, a bin for RECYCLING, which gets picked up fortnightly. An aside, why only fortnightly pick-up on recycling? Our family’s recycling bin is double the size of the landfill YET still gets full faster than the landfill one, and is often overflowing.

Compost at home
It’s opportune to note here that compassionate residents can also compost/worm farm their food waste in their back yard OR inside their home/apartment in the case of bokashi (a bucket–compact-composting system which creates a liquid perfect for unblocking drains!)

Green Waste
To complete the circle, we also pay a further company to take away our residual green waste, the lawn clippings, garden waste, we can’t compost ourselves.

Waste Management says no to kerbside collection of glass

Late 2017 BOP residents received a letter informing them from 1 March 2018 kerbside glass recycling was a no-go.

Interesting to point out, the multiple ‘recycling – waste’ companies have not reduced their annual fees, or given people refunds on fees, even though the services have been greatly reduced.

You may like to watch this ‘home-video’ of the thinking behind Waste Management’s (WM’s) decision.

In a nutshell, a summary of the above wee vid, the way glass was being collected before-1 March 2018 (from kerbside) was creating too much breakage. This means glass wasn’t being recycled as much as it could.

These are the reasons Waste Management no longer take glass via kerbside collection.

  • Glass was being broken on the way to the depot, as the truck compressed its recycling.
  • Glass was being broken when the trucks tip the ‘recycled-waste’ onto the concrete ‘floor’ of the recycling ‘warehouse’.
  • Staff hand-processing the delivered-recycling-materials were being put at risk by the broken glass.
  • The broken glass (within the recycled-material) was being ‘sent’ to landfill, because once broken, won’t/can’t be handled, or re-distributed to the glass recycling area.
  • WM felt more glass could be recycled effectively and less sent to landfill by using the new system of residents hand-delivering their glass to 1) the depot or 2) the new community stations, such as bins at various New Worlds and formerly at Mount Intermediate.

The questions i pose (and will follow up with) are:

  • Which other centres in NZ are still collecting glass via kerbside recycling, and why?
  • Are there other reasons that have affected WM’s decision to stop kerbside collecting glass via kerbside recycling (besides health and safety and WM wanting to glass recycling to be more effective)?
  • Is Waste Management still recycling glass in Tauranga? Does it get sent elsewhere?
  • We know plastic (especially 1s and 2s i.e. the number written on the bottom of ‘your’ plastic product) generates ‘income’ for WM i.e. they get paid for it. Does glass recycling ‘make any money?’
  • Is ‘making a profit’ the sole reason we recycle?
  • If it isn’t, who pays for recycling to happen? The companies creating the glass?
  • If so, what incentives are there for companies to continue to use glass?
  • How many people understand glass can be recycled for perpetuity, meaning all its life? Whereas plastics can only currently be recycled once.
  • What is recycled glass being used for?
  • What systems do other countries adopt to recycle glass?

Where you can recycle your glass

  • You can take your glass to the waste-stations on Maleme Street (Greerton), or Te Maunga Mt Maunganui near Baypark. NB: I’ve heard at peak-times there are queues to get inside the waste-station at Maleme Street.
  • Use the WM installed glass-recycling-stations at supermarkets, and other community hubs. Here’s the link to where these currently are. Keep checking the map, as businesses are putting their kind and conscious hands up to ‘host’ these stations monthly.
  • This company Class Glass  has kindly and cleverly set up a business to collect from your home.

Have your say, submit to COUNCIL

Make a submission to council on their LONG TERM PLAN, part of which includes the category ‘waste’, another is ‘transport’, which means click this link, which goes to their website, and answer 12 easy questions about what matters to you. Council are currently (within this long term plan submission/consultation process) asking people if ‘we want glass recycling to be paid within our rates’ and other meaty, relevant, easy to answer questions.

Whipped up and will be updated by Emily with wild & grace

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