Kerikeri-Waipapa residents have their own recycling station for the first time in more than a decade.
Despite being the biggest population centre in the Far North, the Kerikeri-Waipapa area has not had a place to drop off recyclables since 2008.
Residents have instead had to pay for kerbside recycling or drive to Whitehills Transfer Station, 20km north on State Highway 10.
Since Monday, however, thanks to a deal struck between the Far North District Council and Northland Waste, household recycling can be dropped off in Waipapa.
The Kerikeri-Waipapa Refuse Transfer Station will also take bulk and bagged rubbish, e-waste, whiteware, scrap metal, waste oil and household hazardous waste.
Recyclable materials can be dropped off without charge while standard rates apply to other refuse.
Council infrastructure manager Andy Finch said Kerikeri residents had been requesting a transfer station for several years. Previously, Kerikeri residents had to make a 40-minute round trip to Whitehills, the nearest council refuse station.
"A key goal of our waste plan is to have a recycling facility within 15 minutes' drive of the majority of residents. The new Waipapa site will finally make that a reality for Kerikeri."
By working with Northland Waste, plans to open a new transfer station were brought forward by at least two years.
"Northland Waste was already building its own facility at Waipapa and has included a public drop-off facility within that site. This was secured on very favourable terms, so ratepayers have gained a transfer station earlier than planned and at a cost saving."
The company had invested significantly in the site over the past 12 months, installing extra equipment to make it suitable for public use and employing three new staff, Finch said.
When Kerikeri Memorial Hall was closed down in 2004, part of the Cobham Rd property was turned into a resource recovery centre where people could drop off reusable and recyclable items.
It was closed, however, in May 2008 because it had outgrown the site and the council wanted to sell the property. Paid kerbside recycling was introduced instead.
■ The new transfer station is located down a lane at 1913 SH10. Rural supplies store Farm Source is on the corner. The opening hours are 7.30am-5pm on weekdays and 9am-5pm on weekends.