‘Good’ rubbish goes to landfill: report

Recycling in Waipa has had a complicated few months, with dual crisis of contamination and needless throwing out of recyclable rubbish

Waipā residents send most of their recyclable rubbish to landfills, a new report reveals.

An audit of trash was carried out by the Waipā District Council last October of 253 randomly-selected households on 44 streets in Waipā.

The solid waste audit was an in-depth look at what residents were throwing out and which items could have been recycled, reused, saved or eaten.

The results show 55 per cent of items thrown into household rubbish bins could have been diverted from landfill.

Food made up the largest portion of waste at 36.6 per cent – households surveyed threw away an average 3.6kg of food each week.

Council’s waste minimisation officer Sally Fraser said food waste was a major problem in Waipā.

“We found a lot of meat, bread and fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as some perfectly good items like chocolate, crackers and biscuits.”

Contractors hand sorted rubbish piece-by-piece before separating items into categories and weighing them.

According to the results, Waipā households are throwing 1.4kg of plastic into their rubbish bins each week – almost 15 per cent of all rubbish thrown out.

“Some plastics are harder to avoid, but we found that 21 per cent of plastics people are throwing away could have been recycled – like plastic types 1, 2 and 5.”

Each household is also throwing away 1.3kg of garden waste and organic material – it made up 13.6 per cent of all waste, and most could have been composted.
Sally Fraser said the audit was are critical – and also required by the Ministry for the Environment –  “because they allow us to see which areas we should be focusing on to try to reduce waste as a district and get good recyclable materials out of the rubbish”.

She said the rubbish bin should be the last option when residents are considering what to do with their waste.

“When we talk about throwing things away, there is no ‘away’ – it just goes to a landfill in New Zealand.

The council will continue run home composting, worm farm and bokashi workshops, promoting food sharing groups and supporting projects that target avoiding waste through its Waste Minimisation Community Fund.

Personal information is not recorded in the audit.

For more information go to www.waipadc.govt.nz/liftingthelid.

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