Buller District Council

Materials Recovery Facility grand opening

15th April, 2014

The green ribbon was cut today by Buller Mayor Garry Howard and Smart Environmental’s Managing Director Grahame Christian, to officially open the new Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) for the Buller district.

The MRF is based at the Westport Transfer Station and is a significant piece of equipment allowing Smart Environmental to carry out the contract they have with Council for the next ten years. All the recyclable material that is collected from your wheelie bins is emptied into this machine, which through an automated and manual process, sorts the recyclables into their types and grades. The items are then baled together ready to be sold to national and international markets.

Smart Environmental has invested approximately $1.6m in plant and equipment alone for the Buller operation since it commenced its contract with Council on February 3 2014. Smart Environmental is currently directly employing 10 people for the Buller contract who are all based in Buller, plus has a sub-contract with Johnson Bros Transport who operate/staff the collection truck.

The figures for 1 Feb – 31 March for the collection contract were 80 tonne of recycling material (glass excluded), 54 tonne glass and 56 tonne refuse.  “Glass was not collected kerbside with the old service so it is great to see residents are taking up this new aspect of the new service”, comments Buller Mayor, Garry Howard. The refuse received is transported to Nelson City Council’s landfill.

Due to this contract being in its early stages, we are unable to make accurate comparisons (these results will come out in due course).  However, the total amount of refuse that was transported to Nelson in the same months last year was over 400-tonne, and recycling (excluding glass) was 56-tonne compared to 395-tonne of refuse this year.  This year’s refuse tonnage figure includes roadside collections, public drop offs, commercial volumes and those residents that accumulated recycling whilst awaiting the commencement of their new service.

Mayor Howard comments “I am really pleased with how the implementation of this new service has worked out. Of course there were a few teething problems which is to be expected when undertaking a change of this magnitude, but overall this has been a great success and the public feedback I have been receiving has been really positive. The majority of residents in Zone One, where this service is in place, have embraced the new service and are making the absolute most of it which is great, you couldn’t ask for better than that.”


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