LAWRENCE GULLERY
An initiative where people are paid a $20 petrol voucher every time they hand in a car to Hawke's Bay Vehicle Recyclers has begun to prove beneficial for the three councils funding the scheme and the environment. More than 170 vehicles a month, from around the region, are being delivered to the vehicle recycling depot on Orchard Road, Hastings, an increase from 112 a month for the corresponding time last year.
Some people had even brought cars from as far as Central Hawke's Bay to the recycling depot.
Collectively, the Hastings district, Napier city and Hawke's Bay regional council have spent $50,000 in petrol vouchers funding the initiative since its inception in 2004.
It was set up to discourage people from abandoning cars on the side of roads, rivers and rural areas.
Hastings council's operations service manager Kevin Deacon said vehicles handed into the depot now out numbered those abandoned on the roadside.
"When we started this in 2004, we set the voucher at $10. In the last 18 months we've put it up to $20 and it is working. We don't want the cars dumped on the side of the road, we want them brought in," he said.
It cost the Hastings council about $30 every time it has to pick up and tow an abandoned car; in Napier seven vehicles were abandoned and in Hastings 11 were recorded for the month of March.
Mr Deacon said encouraging people to hand in their dilapidated vehicles was not saving the councils a large sum in pick-up costs but it was contributing towards savings on the environment.
"Abandoned cars is not just a problem for Hawke's Bay, it's a problem for the whole country," Mr Deacon said.
Hawke's Bay Vehicle Recyclers manager Gary Stirling said oil from the vehicles was recycled, and about 70 percent of the vehicles crushed into cubes at the depot were sent to Auckland for recycling.
He said the other 30 percent were sent to Indonesia where it would normally take about 18 months for the metal from those cars to be used in other goods such as other vehicles and whiteware products.