Business owner 'dumbfounded' by recycling rejection

By Alexandra Newlove -
Top Ten Holiday Park are not having all their rubbish collected. Pictured are  Colin Jones, left, and owner/operator Nick Blake. Photo/John Stone
Top Ten Holiday Park are not having all their rubbish collected. Pictured are Colin Jones, left, and owner/operator Nick Blake. Photo/John Stone

A Whangarei business owner is "a bit dumbfounded" by a council decision to leave the majority of his recycling on the pavement.

But the council says the decision is fair and that waste costs should be paid by businesses.

Nick Blake took over management of Whangarei's Top 10 Holiday Park - nestled in Parihaka Scenic Reserve - in July this year.

The park sleeps between 200 and 300 guests a night and Mr Blake said the council had been emptying up to 20 maroon household recycling bins each week for more than 20 years under the former management - no questions asked.

Two weeks ago Mr Blake was told by rubbish collectors that only five bins would be emptied from now on. This turned out to be the case when the weekly truck showed up on October 26 and left 15 full bins sitting on the pavement.

"It just amazes me that someone has a business for 20 odd years, it's all good, then after a couple of months here they change it on us," Mr Blake said.

Mr Blake said his staff painstakingly hand sorted the recycling each week to make sure nothing went to landfill unnecessarily. He felt the council's actions encouraged more waste.

"We're trying to be clean and green, then they go and change it on us," he said.

"For us, it would now be cheaper for us to put all our recycling in a [paid] bin and get them to dump it."

When he contacted the council, Mr Blake was told the five-bin maximum was designed to save ratepayers money.

"[The staff member] just kept saying that there's nothing she can do and it is what it is," Mr Blake said. "It seems to be a good council but we pay a lot of money to them and we expect this basic service."

WDC solid waste engineer Jo Floyd said the number of bins collected at the park had grown over the years and "we need to get things back into a balance that is fair to everyone".

"We accept up to five bins as a residential collection, but more than that we consider a commercial quantity that the park should cover," she said.

She said it would be unfair to put the all the costs of business recycling onto domestic ratepayers.

"Businesses are required to cover the cost of recycling or disposing of the waste that they generate as part of their business. It's an overhead," she said.

All ratepayers pay the same one-off $171 rubbish charge a year, plus a cost per rubbish bag. The $171 covers the costs of the domestic recycling service, a portion of the transfer station operational costs, litter control costs and waste operations.

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