Worker injured fishing out non-recyclables
It was hook, line and stitches for Aroha Rahui when she was injured by a fishhook placed in a recycling bin within Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty’s kerbside collection material.
The hook pierced Aroha’s glove and injured her hand, requiring a quick trip to a medical centre.
Aroha is a recycling operator and health and safety officer and was removing non-recyclable materials from the sorting line when the injury happened.
Both Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty District councils want to remind residents to think about what they put in their kerbside bins, as hazardous items put truck drivers and the team at the sorting facility at risk.
The accident could have been easily avoided by ensuring that only recyclable items go into the mixed recycling bin.
Aroha hopes her story will help change people’s habits.
“People need to be aware of what we put up with. This is what happens when you put the wrong thing in your recycling bin; we can get hurt,” says Aroha.
Used nappies, soft plastics, batteries, and polystyrene are just a few of the non-recyclable items mistakenly placed in Tauranga and Western Bay of Plenty recycling bins.
Although not all these items are hazardous, if too many of these are found in recycling bins it can result in precious recyclable materials being sent to landfill.
Although most residents are doing a great job and sending less to landfill, recycling bins are still being contaminated by unrecyclable or unwashed items by 10 -13 per cent across the Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty.
Tauranga City Council, sustainability and waste manager Sam Fellows and Western Bay of Plenty District Council deputy CEO and infrastructure services group manager Gary Allis both agree residents have made a good start with the new kerbside recycling service but there’s always room to improve.
“Overall contamination from dirty or unrecyclable items has not been too bad for the first five months of the service – but it’s a team effort; we all need to do better to reduce waste to landfill.”
Kerbside recycling bins should only be used for plastic bottles and containers numbered one, two (and five for residents in Tauranga City), paper, cardboard, tins, and cans.
Both councils introduced a new council-led kerbside collection service on July 1, 2021, following extensive consultation with the community.
For Western Bay of Plenty residents, if you’re not sure what items go in which bin, check with our handy item sorter https://kerbsidecollective.co.nz/item-search/
Tauranga City residents can find a comprehensive recycling guide on the council website https://www.tauranga.govt.nz/living/rubbish-and-recycling/kerbside-collections