2000 properties on Wellington’s recycling blacklist to get clean slate

The 2000 properties on Wellington City Council’s bad recycling blacklist could get a clean slate while a report is undertaken to address the overall issue.

Wellington City Council has several hotspot areas it doesn’t deliver free recycling bags to, due to the repeated misuse of them over the years.

Properties on these streets can contact the council to have bags delivered, but they will have residents’ addresses stuck to the bags so they can be monitored.

In 2016 there were 800 properties on the blacklist, which has now grown to 2000.

Councillor Tamatha Paul campaigned on giving these properties a clean slate.

She successfully passed an amendment today at a Strategy and Policy Committee meeting to resume recycling for the 2000 properties .

This is while council officers prepare a report with outcomes, lessons and next steps to address the issues of non-compliant recycling.

Paul said the council needed to do a hard reset.

“We are focused on punishing these people rather than educating them. We are going to monitor them over the next year and see what we can learn about waste disposal behaviours.

“Recycling is not the be all and end all of our significant waste problems in Wellington which may result in the tragic and preventable extension of the Southern Landfill. But we need to learn more about human behaviour and shift attitudes around waste.”

Councillor Teri O’Neill seconded the amendment, noting some residents have been blacklisted as a result of their neighbour’s actions.

Councillors Sean Rush and Nicola Young voted against the amendment. Deputy mayor Sarah Free and councillors Diane Calvert, Malcolm Sparrow, and Simon Woolf were not present for the vote.

Councillor Iona Pannett supported the amendment but noted a lot of education has already been undertaken and people needed to be “grown-up” about recycling.

“Don’t come on a climate strike tomorrow if you can’t do the basic job of sorting your recycling.”

Councillor Nicola Young said if people were bright enough and privileged enough to go to university, they should be able to sort their recycling.

“It’s just part of being a civilised human being.”

Mayor Andy Foster said he was concerned about staff and contractors dealing with items that shouldn’t be in recycling bags.

He said giving people a clean slate could undermine the efforts of those trying to do the right thing.

“Recycling is marginal at best at the moment so we don’t want to make it less than marginal.

“At the end of the day we’re going to have to get this done properly to give the system credibility.”

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