Dirty nappies, cigarette butts stuffed into cans, the needles of drug users - some of what comes into the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre has a high yuk factor.

"It's definitely not the cleanest job in the world. I do go home and have a good scrub," team leader Kellie Ranginui said.

It's not the easiest job either. The staff sometimes get abuse, when they refuse to take items such as polystyrene. Some have even been hit.

"One of our key roles is educating the public, and we constantly get abused. People come down here because they don't want to pay