Contaminated recycling is costing Waipā ratepayers thousands of dollars a month, with some residents having their recycling suspended for repeat offending.
District Council waste minimisation team leader Sarabjeet Singh said a sharp increase in the number of contaminated bins has been identified during recent bin audits, resulting in repeat offenders now facing a three-month suspension of their recycling collection.
The problem was costing ratepayers up to $20,000 a month in disposal fees.
Singh said items being discovered in bins included food waste, nappies, animal carcasses, and medical waste.
“It is essential that there are consequences for abusing the service and if we don’t suspend the offenders then it is going to keep costing the ratepayers who do comply.
“Contaminated materials that get mixed in with the good recycling can compromise the whole truckload,” Singh said.
In the Waipā District, only glass, paper, cardboard, plastics 1, 2 and 5, and cans/tins which must be clean and dry can be recycled. It is an offence under Waipā District Council’s solid waste management and minimisation bylaw 2018 to place non-compliant waste in kerbside recycling bins.
If a recycling bin contains contaminated items, the bin will be stickered and an information flyer will be left in the letterbox. Residents must remove the contaminant and dispose of it in their general rubbish, then the recycling bin can then be placed kerbside at the next collection date.
The council said 22 letters went out this week advising residents they had been suspended from recycling collection.
When a collection is suspended, offenders will need to work with Waipā District Council staff to have their collections restarted after the three-month period and can do this by calling 0800 WAIPA DC (924 723).