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Single Bin Recycling System in Auckland Popular

( The single bin recycling system operated by Auckland and Manukau city councils has led to year on year reductions in the amount of rubbish going to landfill.

“Commingling, which allows residents to put all their recyclables into one bin, has been enormously popular with residents and brought many environmental benefits,” said Auckland’s Environmental and Utility Management group manager, Michael McQuillan.

“In the first year it saved 10,000 tonnes of rubbish going to landfill and last year a further 11,000 tonnes.”

Mr McQuillan said no recyclable glass collected in Auckland or Manukau was going to landfill.

“A large percentage is being recycled into bottles or jars and this will increase now the Materials Recovery Facility in Onehunga has installed improved optical glass sorting equipment, which can colour sort glass fragments as small as a 50c coin, to supply a new glass furnace to be commissioned at Owens-Illinois Ltd, in Penrose.

“The council is aware there are issues for the wine industry over the economics of bottles from recycled glass but that is a commercial question for the industry and the glass manufacturer to resolve and should not reflect on the wider benefits of recycling and the success of our commingling service,” he said.

Currently, recovered glass not used in bottles or jars goes to a variety of good uses such as insulation, drainage, and roading, footpaths and cement aggregate that saves the need to mine for aggregates. “The key thing is, it is being usefully employed and diverted from landfill,” said Mr McQuillan.

As the recycling wheelie bins were collected fortnightly instead of the previous weekly service, there has been a consequent reduction in truck movements and traffic emissions.

“Councils have obligations under the Health and Safety in Employment Act to take all practicable steps to ensure people performing contract work are not harmed while doing it. The single bin system is much safer than having runners picking up separate bins and emptying them into trucks. In the last couple of years I’m aware of at least three fatalities among numerous injuries occurring on contracts where runners are used,” said Mr McQuillan.

He noted that there would be no change to the popular current system in Auckland city in the near future with contracts extending to 2022.

Media Release 22 September 2010 from Auckland City Council.



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