When are the PPR stations being removed?
The stations will be removed week commencing 12 July. We’ll send out a media release and make a social media announcement week commencing 28 June. We’ll also install stickers on the stations at the same time.
How many stations are you removing and where are they?
We’re removing nine stations at the following locations:
- Cuba Mall (1)
- Kelburn Park (1)
- Lambton Quay bus transfer station – Outside at Terminal D and inside at Terminal A (2)
- Corner of Courtenay Place & Taranaki Street, near Tommy Millions (1)
- Oriental Parade (1)
- Midland Park (1)
- The Wellington Cenotaph (Parliament) (1)
- Evans Bay Parade campervan site (1)
Why are you removing the stations?
We originally expected that the PPR stations would become permanent, but during the trial it became clear that they aren’t the best solution for managing the city’s waste. Rather than relying on recycling, we need to shift our focus to creating and consuming less waste in the first place.
On an operational level, the stations diverted very small volumes of recycling (36 tonnes) compared to kerbside (11,200 tonnes). Cost was also a factor – the trial was costing $600 per day and we feel money can be put to much better use educating people about reusable options.
How much did the trial cost, and who paid for it?
The trial was funded with $465k of Waste Levy money from the Ministry of the Environment – no ratepayer money was used.
How the Waste Levy works: Waste disposal facility operators (ie. the Southern Landfill) pay the Ministry $10 per tonne for all waste sent to landfill. Half of the levy money goes back to city and district councils to spend on promoting or achieving waste management activities set out in their wate management plan. The remainder is put into the Waste Minimisation Fund.
The recycling stations were purchased with a $75,000 grant from the joint Love NZ/Be a Tidy Kiwi “Litter Less Recycle More” project delivered nationally by the Packaging Forum
How does the cost of PPR compare to kerbside recycling?
Processing the PPR stations costs ten times as much as kerbside recycling - $6,584 per tonne (glass and co-mingled combined) versus $610 per tonne. PPR works out at $600 per day.
How much recycling was diverted from landfill during the trial?
10 tonnes of co-mingled recycling (plastics, paper, cardboard) and 24 tonnes of mixed coloured glass were diverted from landfill over a 12-month period. This sounds like a lot, but it’s actually a tiny amount in comparison to kerbside recycling which diverts approximately 11,200 tonnes per year.
Isn’t it better to collect a small amount of recycling than none at all?
Not necessarily. When you consider the costs involved ($600 per day), plus the environmental impacts of servicing the PPR stations (fuel emissions etc), it makes more sense to focus on other initiatives to minimise waste.
What were contamination rates like?
Contamination for co-mingled recycling (plastics, paper, cardboard) ranged from 34% - 48% in the first three audits, then dropped to 6%-7% in the final two audits. Glass contamination was low for all audits, between 0% - 7%.
Consistently low contamination levels for glass and the final two co-mingled audits suggest that the public want to ‘do the right thing’, but there is still some confusion regarding what materials are accepted for co-mingled recycling. This confusion is backed up by the audit of rubbish bins, which contained an average of 45% recyclables.
If glass contamination rates were low, why aren’t you keeping the glass bins?
The volume of glass diverted during the trial was very low - 24 tonnes over a 12-month period. If we continued with just the glass bins, it would cost around $112,000 per year for collection costs alone. There is no funding available beyond the end of the 2020/2021 financial year, so alternative funding would need to be found in order to continue.
Glass collected in the PPR trial is mixed colour and isn’t recycled into new bottles or jars. This is because the glass recycling plant in New Zealand requires it to be sorted by colour. This mixed colour PPR glass is transported to Palmerston North where it is ground down into sand and mixed with other materials to be part of roading aggregate or cement.