The decision to scrap glass recycling collection in the Western Bay of Plenty has been labelled as "ridiculous" by those opposed to the plan.

Waste management confirmed the change in how it collects glass would come into effect on March 1.

Customers will be expected to take their glass waste to community glass deposit bins themselves for recycling. The bin locations are expected to be announced next month.

Waste Management's David Howie in a statement said current glass recycling posed unacceptable safety risks to staff, was commercially unsustainable and "was often counter-productive in diverting waste from landfill".


"We have recycled mixed glass at our Mount Maunganui site for a long time. But the glass is often broken into small pieces and needs to be sorted into different colour streams.

"This creates an unacceptable health hazard for our staff handling the broken glass and also means other recycling products are easily contaminated by the shards. This leads to materials that could otherwise be recycled being diverted to landfill."

Orchardist Rob Thode was "very disappointed and quite annoyed" with the decision.

"It just seems ridiculous to me. I pay to recycle, and I would expect Waste Management to ... use a bit of imagination or whatever they need to do to make it work.

Thode said people in the agricultural and horticultural industries were working hard to be more environmentally friendly.

Thode said he recycled about 50 per cent of his household waste. "I try to do what I can."

"I'm trying to do things as a sustainable business. That's certainly what our industry is moving towards.

"I'd rather see them [Waste Management] moving forwards not backwards. I'd happily pay for a separate glass recycling container."

Rob Thode with his recycling. Photo/George Novak
Rob Thode with his recycling. Photo/George Novak

Tauranga City Council's environment committee chairman Steve Morris was also disappointed and concerned more glass would end up in the landfill.

Morris said the recycling dangers identified by Waste Management were overcome in other New Zealand cities "so surely we can overcome them too".

"Unfortunately, because Tauranga's kerbside collections are privately managed, council has no control over which materials the private waste operators choose to collect."

Waste Management said in a written statement that customers committed to recycling understood its decision.

Waste Management said it considered a range of options over the past 18 months and the decision "was not taken lightly".

"Our investment in special glass collection bins reflects our commitment to recycle as much material as possible from the region while keeping our team safe."