‘Waste woes’ response

Last week’s cover story ‘Our waste woes’ contained a number of inaccuracies and misleading information about the council’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) on Glenda Drive.

After we requested a correction/clarification, Allied Press offered us this right to reply for which we are grateful.

The opening paragraph quotes ‘‘almost three-quarters of our recycling’s ending up at the dump’’.

From July, 2022, to March, 2023, the MRF received 6173 tonnes of product of which 862 tonnes (less than 14%) was sent to landfill as contamination.

If 70% had indeed been sent to landfill this would equate to 480 tonnes per month, which simply could not, and would not, occur.

In January, we shared our disappointment that staff shortages and other challenges led to 4.8 tonnes of unprocessed recycling sent to landfill on one day.

Even if, hypothetically, this same amount was sent every day in January (which of course it wasn’t) that would still equate to less than
one third of what the claim suggests.

We have been very open in the past when we’ve been unable to meet the standards that we and you expect.

You can find our media statement from January, and a couple from November 2022, on our website.

The story also claimed ‘‘the volume of recycling taken in… is far greater than it’s designed to take’’.

This contradicts information we sent to Allied Press which confirmed the MRF currently operates close to capacity.

Before it reaches this point, product can usually either be stored or transported to another district.

Whilst we did answer a number of Allied Press’ questions we were never asked to respond to several of the specific claims made in the story, and hence couldn’t address them before publication.

We invited the journalist on a tour of the MRF more than a week before the story appeared.

This would have allowed them to see the process from start to finish, along with the associated challenges faced by the amazing team working in often pretty yucky conditions.

The invitation was not taken up but still stands.

Our biggest concern is that the story will have a misplaced, detrimental effect on the community’s trust in council’s recycling service, specifically kerbside recycling which relies on residents putting the right waste in the right bin.

Planning for a new facility is underway and your continued support in sorting your waste really does make a positive difference.

Please keep up your awesome efforts.

If you’re unsure about what to recycle, check out our website at qldc.govt.nz/services/rubbish-recycling or call our recycling hotline on 03 441 0499.

Simon Mason’s QLDC’s infrastructure operations manager

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