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Recycling-savvy Buller residents ace bin audits

19 Mar 2024

Buller District Council and Smart Environmental Ltd recently completed the first four weeks of this year’s recycling bin audit programme, with the results demonstrating good uptake of the new recycling regulations that came into effect on 1 February by Buller residents.

365 bin audits have been carried out to date, with 262 green tags given out for bins with perfect recycling scores – these contained only recyclable items, with zero contamination present.

A further 84 yellow tags have been assigned to bins with some incorrect items or contamination present – these bins still had their recycling collected for processing.

A total of 19 bins were too contaminated to have their contents accepted for recycling and received red tags. Non-recyclable and dirty items pose the risk of contaminating the rest of the district’s recycling collection and cause issues at the recycling centre.

The most common recycling mistakes people are making include:
• Leaving the lids on bottles and jars
• Including paper or cardboard pieces that are smaller than the size of an envelope
• Not rinsing containers to remove food or liquid residue – they must be clean
• Trying to recycle plastics that aren’t #1, #2 or #5
• Putting soft plastics (plastic bags and snack packaging like chip packets) in their recycling bin.

Some bins also contained used serviettes and wet wipes, dirty meat trays, scrap metal and drink bottles still full of liquid – these items are definitely not acceptable for recycling.

Council’s solid waste coordinator Juliana Ruiz says: “In the six months prior to February 2024, Buller’s recycling contamination rate was 30.1%, but in February itself the recycling contamination rate dropped to 19.7%, which is a great improvement. The national average is 16% - 20%.”

Recycling bin audits will continue for a further six weeks – there is plenty of time for residents to brush up on the requirements and up their recycling game.


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