Recycling services in the Western Bay will resume gradually to full service as the Covid-19 alert transitions through level 2. However, only Katikati and Te Puke centres will operate during level 2.

Western Bay of Plenty District Council utilities manager Kelvin Hill acknowledges there is some frustration that full recycling services have not been reinstated, but he says the health and safety of the public and staff must take priority.

In the gradual resumption to normal services over the next two weeks, Katikati Recycle Centre will open on Thursday, May 14 and Saturday, May 16 from 9am to 4pm, closing for lunch from 12pm to 1pm each day.

People are asked to access the Katikati Centre from Wills Rd.

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Both centres will have the same operating layout as during the previous three-day opening period.

Outside of these dates the recycling centres will be closed until further information is provided by the government and council.

While the level 2 changes will be a good transition, Kelvin says council will be arranging additional opening days in the coming weeks to help ease the backlog of both plastic and other recycling products, including greenwaste, that people are anxious to get rid of.

People will be able to put their recycling directly into bins that will be beside where they park. This layout allows for minimal movement for customers and ensures physical distance is maintained.

There have been enquiries as to why the recycle centre in Athenree and the Omokoroa greenwaste facility remain closed.

Kelvin says these centres will only re-open when council can meet all the requirements imposed under the respective alert levels.

"Council is using a staged approach to move its centres back to full functionality.

"We are giving residents in the western side of the district (Katikati) and eastern side of the District (Te Puke) the ability to recycle a limited range of products for the next two weeks. We regret that this may cause inconvenience to residents in other areas.

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"We have made this decision to reduce the health risks posed by opening centres. Council must safeguard the health of the public and staff when opening its services."

He says the public responded well to the opening of the two centres during level 3 and everything went smoothly.

It was a flurry of activity at the Katikati Recycling Centre recently as it reopened, with many residents keen to get rid of rubbish accumulated over lockdown.

"We were pleased to be able to offer at least some relief for people who had been stockpiling their recycle products for so long.

"The numbers speak for themselves. We thank everyone for their cooperation and gratitude during those three-day openings."

There were 1200 cars which visited the centre over the three days, and 99 per cent of the visitors were supportive of the layout and the protection provided, and of course the centre being open after six weeks of lockdown, he says.

He says feedback through Facebook has validated this.

"We experienced a heavy flow of traffic each day with around 400 cars entering the centre each day over the six-hour period.

"The traffic queues unfortunately were a result of the volume of recycling product that each car brought in after six weeks of lock down. And also the fact we could only have five cars at a time in the centre."

However, he says the positives of the layout and protection to both the public and staff outweighed the resulting traffic queues.

"Most people were very tolerant and relaxed about this situation, stating they were just happy the centre was open."

A traffic queue as the Katikati Recycling Centre reopened. Photo / Supplied
A traffic queue as the Katikati Recycling Centre reopened. Photo / Supplied

Council will only accept the following under level 2

- Flattened cardboard

- Glass bottles and jars

- Paper

- Tin and aluminium cans

Please be aware of the following entry requirements to the recycling centres
- No pets in cars
- One person per car. (Exception being solo parents with children, who are strapped in the car seats, and elderly people)
- No trailers
- No plastics will be accepted
- No greenwaste will be accepted
- If weather is too bad on the planned opening days, the centres will not open, so that the safety of staff and public is ensured. Notification will be given.

Volumes through Katikati during the previous three-day opening
- Glass mixed: 18.75 tonne
- Cardboard: 2.52 tonne
- Paper: 5 tonne
- Tin cans: 350kg
- Aluminium Cans: 250kg

Rubbish left outside the Katikati Recycling Centre. Photo / Supplied Photo / ubbish left outside
Rubbish left outside the Katikati Recycling Centre. Photo / Supplied Photo / ubbish left outside

A Katikati resident says early last week she was walking her dog by the centre, and it was shocking to see rubbish which had been dumped outside the centre's fence and was blowing down the street.

She says it was mainly alcohol bottles and plastic.

"I was disappointed... I just thought, 'This doesn't say Katikati' when I walked past."

She says she went to the recycling centre when it reopened under level three, and that the staff there couldn't be more helpful in directing the traffic and making sure they were all safe.

It is disappointing the staff also had to deal with rubbish being dumped like this, she says.