Unsafe waste causing injuries in Rotorua

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Photo / Thinkstock
Photo / Thinkstock

Rotorua residents are being urged not to overload rubbish bags or include sharp objects after Castlecorp rubbish collectors were injured picking up bags.

Rotorua District Council solid-waste manager Tim Senington said people needed to consider the weight and contents of their rubbish bags and be conscious that workers had to lift them into the back of trucks.

"In the past, there have even been reports of people having to take their bags to the kerb in wheelbarrows because they're too heavy to carry. So it's irresponsible and unfair to expect council staff to have to pick up very heavy bags that put themselves at risk of injury."

Mr Senington said people also needed to be reminded of the ever-present risks to staff from collecting kerbside rubbish bags - such as cuts, infections, muscle strains, back sprains, biological waste, repetitive strain injuries and constant traffic.

"Residents should only put out safe household waste - not hot ashes, liquids, unwrapped sharp objects or other dangerous items. As well as cuts, there's always the risk of infection and other serious accidents.

"In the past year, eight council rubbish-collection workers have suffered injuries, resulting in time off work, while six of these injuries were serious enough to require medical treatment. Injuries included a worker cut from unwrapped glass and strains from lifting overloaded bags."

Meanwhile, staff at the Rotorua Recycling Centre were shocked recently to discover a bag of dirty waste, including soiled nappies, dumped at the centre.

"Unfortunately, this wasn't a one-off incident as some people are becoming more brazen at dumping non-recyclable household waste at the recycling centre. This is totally unacceptable. Not only is it unfair to our mostly responsible customers, who pride themselves on doing their bit for the environment, but it's also extremely unpleasant and potentially health threatening for staff," said Mr Senington.

"It doesn't take much effort to bag household waste properly and put it outside on the kerb for collection on rubbish day. If you are in any doubt about what can placed in rubbish bags or dropped at the recycling centre, contact the council first."

Materials accepted at the Rotorua Recycling Centre include plastics, paper, cardboard, glass, tin, aluminium cans and e-waste such as computers.

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