3 December 2013

Recycling bins being inspected to help raise awareness

WasteNet Southland staff will be inspecting people’s yellow recycling bins and providing helpful information to people about correct recycling to reduce the amount of contamination.

WasteNet Southland Senior Waste Officer Donna Peterson said concerns over the amount of contamination going into the yellow recycling bins had prompted WasteNet Southland to undertake a Summer Recycling Bin Inspection Programme to try and better inform people about what was suitable to be recycled.

The team will be in Gore on Wednesday 4 December.

Students to help with inspections

“The level of rubbish coming into the recycling plant is nearing 15% and we need to bring this down to nil, so in order to tackle this issue we have hired students to help us inspect recycling bins over the summer," Ms Peterson said.

Ms Peterson said they had always done bin inspections but by hiring students it would allow them to cover more recycling bins throughout Southland and remind people of the importance of recycling correctly.

Over the next 10 weeks, the team will be inspecting yellow recycling bins all over Southland – from Gore and Te Anau, Bluff and Riverton, Invercargill to Mossburn.

Problems bins will be tagged

Where problems are found, an information ‘tag’ will be left on the handle of the bin.

“We are using a tag system to inform residents where we have found a problem. The tags are similar to a luggage tag and are left on the handle. A green tag is a friendly reminder that an item cannot be recycled, while the red tag means that the recycling bin cannot be emptied because it is too highly contaminated.

“When you see our team in your town please do not hesitate to come and ask us about recycling, as we are happy to answer any and all questions about recycling, as the more informed we all are, the better our recycling will be,” Ms Peterson said.

Ms Peterson said so far Winton had come under the spotlight and some of the items found that were not suitable for recycling included: a foam baseball bat, a frying pan, food scraps, a cellphone, woollen jerseys, sneakers, weeds, flowers and a basketball.

Of the 729 yellow recycling bins that were inspected in Winton, 27 recycling bins were not emptied by the collection truck as they were too contaminated with rubbish to be accepted as recycling.

Among the items in the wrong bing were meat trays and food polystyrene containers.

“The food polystyrene container acts like a sponge to absorb liquids and cannot be 100% washed clean. Please put these food polystyrene containers in the red rubbish bin.”

Ms Peterson said people seemed to be placing their newspapers and plastic bottles in supermarket bags and placing the tied bag in their recycling bin.

“While it might not seem like a big problem, bagged recycling does create headaches for the team at Southland disAbility Enterprises as they have to untie and open all the bags.

“It would be really great if people emptied the contents of the bags directly into their yellow recycling bins.”

Ms Peterson has three tips for helping people to recycle:

1. Check the sticker (under the yellow lid)
2. Clean food and drink containers
3. If in doubt - put it in the red rubbish bin.

For more information on how to recycle, please visit or contact the Gore District Council, phone 2090330.

Gore District Council 29 Bowler Avenue Gore P: 03 209 0330 E: