Rodney Hide on Auckland’s recycling Gestapo

Auckland Council is deploying agents across the region to rummage through your recycling bin.

The purpose is to catch “recycling cheats”. One rascal tossed a disposable coffee cup. The horror. His bin was orange tagged. The tag was just a warning but what next? Prosecutions? It won’t be long before Nana will be fined for putting a plastic bag in the recycling.

It’s very Big Brother – and quite the expense. Recycling has gone from a happy, hippy thing to council policy statements and state agents poring through your rubbish issuing defect notices.

The council’s environment chairwoman, Penny Hulse, hasn’t helped with her reported explanation. She said incorrect rubbish in the recycling bin was costing the council $170,000 a year. That’s a fair sum – but way less than the cost of agents roaming streets checking rubbish, I would have thought.

Hulse further explained: “Any rubbish placed in recycling bins has to be processed at high expense at the sorting facility and ends up with the whole load being sent to landfill.”

She also said the level for “incorrect materials” was about 13 per cent and the council wanted it down to 5 per cent.

It’s a wonder there’s any recycling, even if it was just 5 per cent contamination.

Current contamination levels suggest Aucklanders like the idea of recycling but can’t be bothered. They have better things to do.

The cheapest and easiest option is probably just to go back to a single big rubbish bin. We can do our own recycling at home.

It is clear that recycling fails when the people just treat the recycling bin as a secondary rubbish bin.  And to expect those kind of people to change their ways…  that’s why you and I will get an infringement notice if we accidentally put a glass jar in the recycling bin for paper and plastics.

At an immense cost to the ratepayers.

 

– Rodney Hide, NZ Herald


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

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