Where are recycling trucks being sent?

We collect about 28-32 trucks of recycling every week in Southland. We can only recycle if we have enough correct, clean items otherwise we have to send the truck contents to landfill.

In the last 3 weeks we have sent 11 recycling trucks directly to landfill due to high levels of contamination. Each reject load cost the Councils approximately $1,000 to dispose to landfill.  This adds up to $11,000 in the last 3 weeks.   The worst days for Invercargill are Wednesday, Thursday and Friday collection days.  For Southland District the areas of Riverton, Tuatapere, Manapouri, Otautau, Ohai and Nightcaps are the worst areas. 

Table A: Breakdown of where recycling trucks were sent for each District for week 11-15 May 2020
 Collection Day
  Invercargill City  
   Southland District    
Gore District   
 Landfill  
   Recycle  
Landfill  Recycle
 Landfill   
  Recycle  
 Monday 11 May 2020 
-
 4  -  2  -  -
 Tuesday 12 May 2020 
-
 4
 -
 2
 -
 -
 Wednesday 13 May 2020 
 1
 2
 - 
 2
 2
 -
 Thursday 14 May 2020 
 1
 3
 - 
 1
 -
 2
 Friday 15 May 2020 
 -  3
 1
 1
 -
 -

Table B: Breakdown of where recycling trucks were sent for each District for week 18-22 May 2020
 Collection Day
  Invercargill City  
   Southland District    
Gore District   
 Landfill  
   Recycle  
Landfill  Recycle
 Landfill   
  Recycle  
 Monday 18 May 2020 
-
 4  -  2 1  1
 Tuesday 19 May 2020 
-
 4
 -
 1
 -
 2
 Wednesday 20 May 2020 
-
 4
 - 
 2
-
 -
 Thursday 21 May 2020 
-
 4
1
1
-
-
 Friday 22 May 2020 




-
-

Table C: Breakdown of where recycling trucks were sent for each District for week 25-29 May 2020
 Collection Day
  Invercargill City  
   Southland District    
Gore District   
 Landfill  
   Recycle  
Landfill  Recycle
 Landfill   
  Recycle  
 Monday 25 May 2020 
-
 4  -  2  -  -
 Tuesday 26 May 2020 
1
 3
 -
 2
 -
 -
 Wednesday 27 May 2020 
-
 4

-
-
 2
 Thursday 28 May 2020 
 1
 3
 - 
 1
 -
 2
 Friday 29 May 2020 
1  3
-
2
 -
 -

How your recycling is processed after collection

Recycling collection services vary across the country and within Districts. The factors that influence these services include whether the area is urban or rural, community expectations, transportation costs and the facilities available to process your recycling. Within Southland there are broadly three scheme types:
  • “Commingled” collections where all your recyclables are put into one mobile bin (wheelie bin), collected at the kerbside by a truck before being taken to a Material Recovery Facility (MRF) and sorted.
  • “One-stream” collections where one recyclable (i.e. glass only) is put into one mobile bin (wheelie bin), collected at the kerbside by a truck before being taken to reprocessing facility.
  • “Drop-off” collection point where you take all your recyclables to a centralised collection area. Collection points can be stand-alone sites or part of local transfer station services.

The materials collected for recycling vary from area to area, so although an item of packaging may state it is recyclable, only put out for collection what your council has confirmed they can accept. The biggest problem for recycling, is when incorrect items are put out for recycling. These items have to be removed, otherwise the quality of the recycling would be reduced – affecting the markets into which is can be sold.

How is it recycled?

After your recyclables have been collected they are taken to Southland disAbility Enterprises Material Recovery Facility (MRF) a sorting and baling plant in Invercargill. The recyclables are then sorted into big bins and baled ready to be sold on the global commodity markets. As of March 2020, Southlands recycling went to the following offshore markets:
  • Plastic bottles and containers (including clear milk bottles, PET) – Indonesia, Malaysia
  • Mixed plastic bottles and containers (including coloured milk bottles) – Malaysia, Thailand
  • Soft plastics (including clear film, shopping bags) – Malaysia, Thailand
  • Non-food grade polystyrene – Malaysia, South Korea, Japan
  • Aluminium cans – South Korea, Japan
  • Steel cans - India, Indonesia
  • Glass – stockpiled and used locally as an aggregated
  • Cardboard – Oji Fibre Solutions offshore pulp and paper plants.

Paper

Due to softening in the global recyclable mixed paper market, from 1 February 2020, paper collected in Councils yellow recycling bins is being sent to landfill. The “commingled” recycling collection system used in Southland does not produce high quality paper for use by the pulp and paper industry at this time. Without a significant investment in secondary processing capabilities or the removal of paper from the ‘commingled’ recycling collection system, paper will continue to be sent to landfill. Alternatively the global market for recyclable paper would have to recover to the extent that this product is once again saleable.