A recycling idea that failed

The folks at Waikawa Beach are keen recyclers. The Horowhenua District Council a few months ago switched us from one crate for everything, collected weekly, to a crate for glass and a wheelibin for hard plastics and paper, collected every second week. Bins were delivered to most, or perhaps all, properties.

After the initial confusion this change inevitably brought, most folks now use each container for the correct materials, and quite often also put them out for collection on the right day. Our Waikawa Beach Ratepayers Association added a calendar entry on the home page of our website to help things along.

Until a couple of years ago the Horowhenua District Council would send a recycling truck down to the beach every Saturday over summer to help the holiday visitors dispose appropriately of all the plastic, paper and glass that Christmas inevitably attracts. This was a fabulous service and was very popular.

Friendly recycling truck.

Then, as always, things changed and in December 2018 a large shipping container with slots for different recyclable materials was unexpectedly stationed on Hank Edwards Reserve. There was no longer a Saturday truck.

Initially this seemed to be a great gift, but its popularity is its downfall. People arrive day and, yes, night, to smash their bottles and stuff the other slots full to overflowing. And that causes the residents across the road a huge amount of stress, often disrupting their sleep.

Some few people also fail to understand the concept of recycling and believe the container is a great place for dumping other rubbish too.

Overflowing recycling station.

But, back to the noise issue. Waikawa Beach is a small place. There is only one public park, and it’s between numerous dwellings and the river. The container is in place from mid-December to mid-March: 3 months. That’s a long time for those residents to suffer the noise and inconvenience of the recycling container.

The Ratepayers Association is consulting with the Council about alternative locations for the container, but no suggestions yet fit with legal requirements and we can’t have the Saturday truck any more.

So during 2020 the community will discuss whether they even want a summer recycling station, especially now almost everyone has bins that are regularly emptied.

The good idea in theory turned out to be a real problem in practise.

Published in Ōtaki Today, March 2020.

Ōtaki Today March 2020 screenshot.

Miraz Jordan @Miraz

Please take a look at my Love Waikawa Beach website too.