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Another successful summer of recycling bin audits in Buller

01 May 2024

Buller District Council and Smart Environmental Ltd have teamed up for another season of auditing residents’ recycling bins.

Auditors have been out checking how well residents are complying with the district’s recycling guidelines. The audits started on 19 February and the program was completed on 19 April.  

Over these two months, a total of 413 yellow recycling bins were audited across Zone One, which receives kerbside recycling collection.

300 of these bins received green tags, as the contents were perfect – they only had compliant items inside, which were clean and had all lids removed.

A further 88 recycling bins received a yellow tag, identifying them as having room for improvement, but being on the right track to recycling perfection.

25 of the recycling bins audited received a red tag, and the bins’ contents were not collected due to contamination.

Items such as general rubbish, tinfoil and soft plastics were commonly found in red-tagged recycling bins. Another common mistake was including items that hadn’t been cleaned or hadn’t had their lids removed.

Buller’s average recycling contamination rate across the period August 2023 to January 2024 was 31%. During the bin audits, contamination dropped to 19% in February and 26% in March.  

Auditors also checked how well residents are using their glass crates for collection. 214 glass crates were audited, with only two receiving yellow tags and four receiving a red. The remaining 208 glass crates contained perfectly compliant glass bottles and jars and no contamination.

In the four glass crates that were rejected, items such as windowpanes, lightbulbs and broken glass were found. These items are not accepted for recycling in Buller and are classed as refuse.

Glass must also be clean, and all items must have their lids removed. Lids go to landfill as they cannot be recycled here.

Residents who have had their recycling bins audited will find a flyer in their letterbox with some notes about their audit.

Our aim for this program is to not only divert contaminated recycling away from the collection stream, but to also educate residents and make it easier for them to recycle right.

The Smart Environmental collection drivers will now permanently carry red tags in their trucks and conduct random spot checks as they collect the bins each week.


For further information please contact:
Manager Infrastructure Delivery
Eric de Boer