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Watch NZH Local Focus: Recycling Options for Hamilton

By Hunter Calder

Every week, Dinsdale residents Heather Hustler and Zena McCort drive their rubbish and recycling to the kerb, a distance of roughly 200 metres, along a private right-of-way.

The pair are concerned it may become harder if Hamilton City Council's proposed four-bin kerbside collection gets the go-ahead.

Mrs Hustler says she, like many elderly people, have arthritis and hip problems and trying to manage four different bins could be difficult, and even harder for people living on sloping sections..

"It will be impossible for my neighbour and I to get the wheelie bin up and down, this steep drive."

The new system would replace rubbish-bags with a red wheelie bin. And instead of only recycling plastics one and two, a large yellow wheelie bin would recycle paper and all plastics, with the current recycling crate being repurposed for glass only. A fourth bin will be used for food-scraps.

Hamilton City Council's assets manager, Emily Botje says by 2019 "we're expecting about twenty-four thousand tonnes of rubbish to go to landfill" and this increased recycling service is hoped to reduce that by seven thousand tonnes.

But Ms McCort says it sounds "all very well" but there will be the hassle of having to store the bins and manoeuvre them up and down the driveway.

The council says, under the new system it will provide help for people who can't manage the bins themselves, but there's uncertainty on how long this will last for.

On the other side of town, in Glenview, Nanette Hynson is looking forward to the convenience of wheelie bins.

"For me personally to lift things is where I have a problem, to just to put things in a bin and to come out and wheel the bin away would be great, for me anyway."

Under the new scheme the council hopes to recycle 50% of the city's waste - currently it only recycles 29%.

Waikato University's Sustainability and Environmental Manager, Rachael Goddard says the council's proposals are "a great leap forward".

While she believes people may be apprehensive about the change initially, it won't take long before people are automatically "rinsing, crushing and putting recyclables in the right place".

"No-one likes change, but once someone starts to do it we will all follow suit," she says.

Mieczyslaw Roguski lives in Glenview as well and already has his own private wheelie bin. He says the blanket recycling system for the city would save him having to pick up the leftover rubbish on his street after rubbish day.

"Unfortunately I'm one of these people who walk up and down the streets picking up the paper that's blowing around, the plastics bottles that are out of their [green] containers, and the bits of rubbish that have gone in the wrong bin and they're left on the street."

It's a system already in place in other parts of the country and Ms Botje says increasing the amount of waste Hamilton can recycle will reduce the amount of rubbish that usually ends up in the environment.

"We're all responsible for our purchasing. We bring a lot of material into our households and we need to have responsibility on what happens after we've made that purchase decision."

People have until next Wednesday to make submissions on the proposal at www.fightthelandfill.co.nz

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