Recycle bin rules enforced

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Needles, nappies and a samurai sword – they’ve all been found smuggled into bags put out for recycling and those that collect the recycling have had enough.

Nelmac, which runs the kerbside recycling for Nelson City Council, says it’s collected recycling put in plastic supermarket bags to “help out” but an increasing amount of non-recyclable rubbish is being smuggled into bags.

That’s prompted Nelmac to enforce an already existing rule that all recycling must be in an open crate so those picking up the rubbish can see what’s in there.

“Over the years people have just got a little bit looser around it,” says Nelmac’s marketing and communications manager Angela Mockett.

“I suppose new people come to the city, our guys have tried to help by not being massively rigid all the time when they have thought people don’t understand, but some people are using the recycling system to get rid of anything they don’t want and at the end of the day someone has to pay for that.”

She says the main reason for the enforcement is safety for staff.

“With the bins they can go up to it, they can see what’s there, it’s either good stuff or it’s not and they just pick it up and chuck it in, they don’t have to touch it, they don’t have to wrap their hands around it like a plastic bag and risk getting a syringe in their hands, or anything like that,” says Angela.

A similar enforcement of glass bottles put out for collection was introduced last year and Angela says understanding from the public was very good.

But Nelson resident John Hogan says the new rules make it tough for a lot of families.

“We’ve put plastic bags of recycling out with a full blue bin for years. We’re a family of seven so we can’t fit our recycling into one of those pathetic blue bins.”

John says he called Nelmac to complain and was told they could buy another blue bin for $20. “But I’m not that keen to spend money on bins. I could just get rid of the recycling in a wheelie bin, which is defeating the purpose of having the system.”

Angela says people can put their recycling in any sturdy, plastic bin and hardware stores sell them for as little as $8.

People can also drop off their recycling for free at the refuse centre on Vivian St, Tahunanui.

Nelmac also say that paper tied in plastic bags creates a real hassle for staff and they urge people to stack them loosely at the bottom of the crate.