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Kapiti takes to recycling, but there’s still a bit to learn

Sep 19th, 2008 | By | Category: Featured Article, News

KAPITI Coast people have taken to kerb-side recycling in a big way since it was introduced last month, but some still haven’t quite got the hang of it.

“I can’t believe what some people put out at the gate,” says Graeme Peter, who manages the Kapiti Coast District Council landfill at Otaihanga.

“What puts me off is the meat trays – people don’t even wash them.”

The less contaminated the items are, the better return it brings.

He also wants people to put tin lids inside the tins and crush them, as loose lids are dangerous for the people handling recycling material.

The council is collecting about 120 cubic metres of recycling material each day and sending it largely unsorted to a recycling centre in Petone.

However, from November the council will operate its own transfer and recovery facility at the Otaihanga landfill, says engineering and design manager Tony Martin.

He said the new centre will have “a trash palace type thing, with your fridges and couches.”

Any old items the public believe have a re-use value, they will be able to drop off at the shop for sale: “It’s just a way of recycling larger items like washing machines and bicycles.”

At the moment, glass is stockpiled at the landfill, and used as a drainage medium there.

“We are looking to use it as aggregate for base for roading,” says Mr Martin. The council is waiting on the results of a test to see if the glass can be used in concrete paving.

Under the present recycling system, preliminary sorting is done on the trucks when recycled material is picked up.

The new trucks have compartments for glass, plastic and paper. There is one older truck that is not set up for sorting, and its contents are sorted later.

The trucks go to the landfill, where the recycling is put into separate containers, including ones for paper and newspaper, and another for plastic.

The containers are then trucked to the Allbrite warehouse in Seaview at Petone, and after sorting and compacting into bales, the material goes all over the world.

Plastic milk bottles, steel cans, aluminium cans, paper and cardboard are pressed into bales and then shipped to Hong Kong, Indonesia, India: “It depends who’s paying the most,” says processing operations manager Brent Davis.

The paper and cardboard is sorted into seven different grades – pure paper from printers, old newspaper, shredded paper from security firms, different thicknesses of cardboard, and “supermix”, the lowest grade of all (cereal boxes, egg cartons, stuff that has been recycled plenty of times).

The plant processes recycling from Porirua, Wellington City, Lower Hutt, and now Kapiti. On average it produces 100 bales of paper, 26 of plastic, six of steel cans, two of aluminium cans, a day. Two containers of glass a day are shipped to Indonesia.

Pictures: Top: Tony Martin, KCDC engineering and design manager, and landfill manager Graeme Peter examine the material for un-recyclable objects.

Centre: The mountain of bottles in front of the transfer and recovery facility under construction.

Bottom: A newly made paper bale at the Allbrite plant in Seaview.

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is a Whitireia Journalism student.
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