Glass recycling has been abandoned in Rangitikei and other districts are stockpiling glass due to a lack of demand

From December 30, Rangitikei residents will be forced to dump their glass bottles in the rubbish or cart them to Palmerston North, Wanganui or Feilding.

The council decided to quit the service at the end of a one-year contract, although the contractor, Jack Trash, had wanted to extend its contract by five years.

Jack Trash glass-recycling bins will be removed from Marton, Bulls, Turakina, Hunterville and Taihape.

Palmerston North City Council water and waste services manager Chris Pepper says it is uneconomic to recycle glass, but the city has a larger volume of recyclable material and the overall cost of recycling is static.

The trouble started, particularly for small councils, when Auckland-based ACI Glass, which controls the market, reduced the price it was willing to pay for glass at the end of last year.

"Councils were faced with the burden of subsidising glass collection and recycling. The smaller councils (like Rangitikei) just get hammered," Mr Pepper says.

"The poor old council is at the mercy of market forces it can't control."

Rangitikei District Council assets manager Barry Strichen says there is no real demand for recycled glass nationwide.

"The annual cost of glass recycling in the district is $70,000 and rising. At a cost of $385 per tonne, it is no longer affordable to recycle glass in the district."

Plastic, cans and paper will still be recycled, however.

Just 12 percent of customers at the district's transfer stations do any recycling, he says.

Rangitikei Mayor Bob Buchanan believes central government should take a greater lead on the issue.

"Dumping glass bottles in the rubbish annoys me," he says.

"At the end of the day, New Zealanders aren't really into recycling yet."

Manawatu District Council waste manager Bill Smith says the council will continue to require its contractor to collect glass, but he understands the contractor is stockpiling it.

As a last resort, glass can be crushed and used as road bedding material or in cement.

600450 Glass recycling has been abandoned in Rangitikei and other districts are stockpiling glass due to a lack of demand
Date: 19 December 2005

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