The critical and significant Standardising kerbside collections in Aotearoa report has been released. The report was prepared by WasteMINZ and commissioned by the Ministry for the Environment.
The result of a significant investigation into New Zealand’s kerbside recycling, the report recommends new standards for rubbish and recycling collections to achieve consistency nationwide.
This approach will reduce household confusion, avoid contamination in recycling, and divert more materials from landfill. Commissioned by the Ministry for the Environment, it is the result of extensive consultation with councils and the recycling industry.
The recommendations broadly call for the standardisation of recyclable materials collected, and for nationwide best practice collection systems.
The report provides a list of materials to standardise the collection for recycling and is the result of a significant piece of work undertaken by WasteMINZ and the resource recovery sector in 2019.
Today the Minister endorsed the recommendation for the sector to adopt a standardised range of materials for collection, and called for further collaboration between central and local government on best practice collection systems.
WasteMINZ CEO Janine Brinsdon says the standardisation of recyclable materials has received broad approval from across the country, however there are a range of views on collection systems.
“These are influenced by local geography, distance to markets and local infrastructure. The recommendations provided in this report recognise these differences, and do not attempt to provide a one-size-fits-all solution to collection systems,” she says.
Included in the list of standardised materials for recycling is plastics 1, 2 and 5, clean and without lids. Tasman District Council has already stopped collecting plastics 3, 4, 6 & 7 based on early research results from this project.
Richard Kirby, Tasman District Council’s Engineering Services Manager, says: “Contamination in recycling costs councils and their contractors a lot of money. Having a standardised set of materials accepted across the country will reduce confusion and produce a better quality of recyclable material,” Richard says. “We also welcome the call for further collaboration on collection systems next year.”
Waste educator Kate Meads agrees that a standardised approach is needed: “I run workshops across the country and having different rules for different councils leads to a lot of ‘wishcycling’. The set of materials recommended in this report will really help, if all councils adopt it.”
The introduction of a mandatory waste data framework, waste minimisation targets, and a national education campaign are included in the recommendations to support the standardisation of domestic kerbside collections.
The Ministry has acted swiftly on the report, announcing today an investment of $36.7m in high-tech recycling plants nationwide and a commitment to standardise and improve the nation’s kerbside collections.
WasteMINZ Communications Adviser
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