While questions remain over the fate of low valued plastics, Hamilton City Council have begun collecting paper and cardboard again under the current kerbside collection service.
City water compliance manager, Trent Fowles, says it's great to see local paper and cardboard recycling getting back on track, thanks to the council's current contractor securing a new onshore processor that can process and recycle these items.
"Covid-19 certainly threw some curveballs our way, with an available market for recycling being one of them. We are extremely pleased that Waste Management (WAM) have been able to source an onshore operator to get this important service back up and running for the community," said Fowles.
The collection of paper and cardboard comes as the Government announced it is investing $124 million in recycling infrastructure nationally.
Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage, made the announcement in Auckland last week.
As part of this, the Government will also, over four years, progressively increase levy rates for landfills which take household waste from the current $10 per tonne – set in 2009 – to $60 per tonne.
Fowles says the recycling shop at Hamilton's RTS in Lincoln St will re-open later this year. The shop temporarily closed its doors on July 1, after being operated by Essential Recycling for over three decades, as part of an arrangement with the council's outgoing RTS contractor, WAM.
"However, the new contractor, Envirowaste Ltd (ESL) will be working in partnership with Habitat for Humanity, who have subleased the site and will have the shop up and running when ESL takes over the transfer station's operations.
"Habitat for Humanity is a charity partner, who will use the proceeds from the reuse store to raise funds for housing needs in the community," Fowles says.
Hamilton City Council's city waters manager, Maire Porter, says residents will be relieved to see the paper and cardboard processing issue sorted and to hear that the transfer station's recycling shop service will return.
"The shop's 34-year operation under Essential Recycling has been an important part of Hamiltonians' overall efforts to reduce, recycle and re-use – and it also brings our community together," says Porter.
"So, it's great to know this popular and well-used facility will be reinstated once the new contractor is up and running, and we're sure Habitat for Humanity will provide an excellent service.
"We know the majority of Hamiltonians are committed to recycling and to minimising their use of non-recyclables and other waste. That's why the council is continuing to work hard to find the right solutions, like these ones, to support their efforts."
Hamilton City Council has yet to confirm if it will continue with its goal of collecting plastics 3-7 in addition to 1 and 2 when it launches its new kerbside rubbish and recycling collection service on August 31.
The new service will see households using four bins to separate their rubbish and recycling, with the HCC planning to collect plastics 1-7.
The HCC Fight the Landfill website says that "plastic types 3, 4, 6, 7 – and type 5 under one litre in volume" – will be sorted at the city's new material recovery facility in Te Rapa.
It says "the council is working on a long-term local solution for recycling these 'low value' items."