While rubbish and recycling will continue to be collected as normal through during alert level 3, the Tasman District Council has confirmed that some recycling that is collected will continue to go to landfill rather than being recycled, due to the ongoing closure of the sorting facilities.
Stormwater and Waste Management team leader, David Stephenson, says that glass is still able to be recycled as it is sent to a fully-automated facility in Auckland. Glass makes up approximately 50 per cent of recycling by weight.
“There’s really no human contact needed with glass,” David says.
However, local sorting facilities require human contact.
“Although part of the process is automated, it still relies on staff to do quality control as well as picking out incorrectly recycled items.”
Co-chair of the Nelson Tasman Climate Forum, Julie Nevin, thinks that this could spur people into rethinking the amount of waste they produce.
“Recycling is better than landfill, but only by degree,” she says.
“Plastics, especially, are limited in how many times they can be recycled. It’s just delaying landfill. Maybe people will see their plastics going to landfill and realise we need more resilient and effective waste systems that keep our materials in use for longer.”
While these are challenging times, Julie says she would love to see more local businesses considering the choices they offer their customers.
“It would be great if retailers could help people to bring home less packaging,” she says.
“If they have been thinking about [how] to help reduce our region’s waste, now would be an excellent time to put ideas into practice. All those materials – paper, plastic, glass – they all take energy to produce, especially new, but including to recycle. That energy produces greenhouse gas emissions.”
According to the council, normal opening hours have resumed for most resource recovery centres, but with limited services.