Tauranga City Council's Environment Committee Chairman, Steve Morris, is disappointed to learn of Waste Management NZ Ltd's decision to stop accepting glass in kerbside mixed recycling from 1 March 2018. The collection company sent letters to their customers late last week advising of the upcoming change to their services.
Instead of collecting glass at the kerbside, Waste Management is asking residents to take their glass to their Bins for Better Communities (glass deposit bins) at participating community group premises across the region. The location of these bins will be on Waste Management's website in February 2018.
Cr Morris says that it was a disappointing move and he has concerns that more glass will end up in landfill as a result.
“I understand that it is no longer economically viable for them to accept glass for recycling and that there are contamination and safety concerns with sorting glass. These are big problems but they have been overcome in other New Zealand cities so surely we can overcome them, too,” he said.
“Unfortunately, because Tauranga's kerbside collections are privately managed, Council has no control over which materials the private waste operators choose to collect.”
In October 2017, the Environment Committee recommended that Council supports, in principle, including a proposal to introduce rates-funded kerbside collections for Tauranga in the draft 2018-28 Long Term Plan.
The committee agreed that not only would a Tauranga City Council-managed kerbside collection service make it easier for all households to recycle, it would also enable the Council to have greater influence over the range of materials that could be recycled, which is not currently possible with privately managed services.
Council is expected to make a decision on whether to include the proposal in the Long Term Plan in December. If included, more information about the proposed service will be available on Council's website and community feedback would be sought through the draft Long Term Plan consultation process in March/April 2018.
Cr Morris advised that glass would continue to be accepted for recycling as usual at the Maleme Street and Te Maunga transfer stations. Additional glass recycling infrastructure at the transfer stations is being planned to help cope with the expected increase in demand from March 2018.