Businesses in Glen Innes have been criticised for not using recycling bins properly.
A meeting of the Business in Glen (BiG) forum heard that oil had been dumped in one recycling bin so that the whole truck load was wasted and had to be thrown on the land-fill site.
The organisation cited the town’s main business street – Grey Street – as a bad offender.
The actual sorting of material in Glen Innes is done by Glen Industries. The loads are picked up by trucks, with recyclable material supposed to be put in the new yellow-top 240 litre bins and waste which can’t be processed put in the green bins.
According to Glen Industries, forty per cent of what they get in recycling bins is actually unsuitable waste. This matters to them because polluted loads can’t be sold to recycling plants – so Glen Industries (a business employing disabled people) makes less money.
Glen Industries Supervisor for Recycling, Phil Doye, said that they had done a test and found that 40 to 45 per cent of recycled material turned out to be useless waste.
He said dead animals were put in recycling bins as well as rotten food, disposable nappies and used needles.
How much damage is done depends on the material – tin cans survive being drenched in oil but paper and plastic can’t, so they go to the landfill instead of being recycled.
The businesses on Grey Street were particularly bad. Each shop has its own recycling bin so suspicion has fallen on them but it would be possible for passers-by to dump the wrong material in them.
Mr Doye felt they should be reminded of the rules with a note saying what works and what doesn’t.
The trucks which pick up the recycling bins have cameras so in theory it should be possible to identify transgressors.
Should they be named and shamed? “You can’t definitely say who is responsible but it’s not just people walking past”, said Mr Doye from Glen Industries.
“If the bin is put out on the street, hardly anyone else would put rubbish in your bin.”
In the past, Glen Industries has expressed anger about the failure to recycle across the town in general.
Glen Industries general manager Kylie Hawkins said two years ago: “Council will now have to get inspectors to go on patrol in the truck to capture the imagery of what is being dumped and by GPS tracking punish those who are putting this disgusting, clearly not recyclable rubbish in their bins.
“Their punishment should not be a fine, it should be to go to the processing plant and work for a week and see the impact their ignorance is having upon workers by putting these putrid items in their recycling.”