Hikurangi Primary School children will be leading the way when new blue recycling bins for glass start arriving at their homes at the end of this week.
A school assembly, a recycling relay and a video later, the kids are primed to be the leaders in their households – even their community - when it comes time to start using the bins.
“The new blue bins are for glass bottles and jars, which are made of the kind of glass that the factories like to process and can get good results from,” said Council’s Solid Waste Engineer David Lindsay.
“They are not for broken glass, because everything gets sorted by hand and we don’t want our people getting cut. They are also not for window, mirror or lightbulb glass because they contain chemicals and metals that the recyclers can’t process.
“Sadly, that sort of glass, and any broken glass (wrapped up safely) still has to go to the landfill.
“Last year Council looked at introducing wheelie bins for recycling, but at the same time there was a global push-back from recycling companies,” Mr Lindsay said.
“For recycling to work it had to be the right material, in the right condition, separated and clean.
Whangārei’s system of sorting the recycling at the kerbside and taking only that which is recyclable and leaving the rest behind (to go into next week’s rubbish), turned out to be the best system for recycling processors.
“Councils who had moved to the wheelie bin system were now having the worst problems getting the stuff they collected recycled,” he said.
“They didn’t have all the resources needed to sort out the different types of recyclables before sending them away, or if they did, the level of contamination caused by everything being thrown in together meant only a small percentage was being recycled.
"Whangārei’s glass has always been in high demand by recyclers in Auckland, because we hand sort it at the kerb and deliver it sorted and ready to process.
“That means there is a very strong upside to using the new two-bin system and keeping our sorters out on the road, doing a great job, and helping us deliver some of the best glass for recycling in the country."