City decides to weigh up recycling options

Future Palmerston North City Council recycling initiatives have been put on hold for a rethink.

Cr Adrian Broad wants the city to become a regional hub and national leader in recycling.

He told a council meeting last night that by working with other groups, principally the Green Hub, the city could help create jobs and boost economic growth.

On the other hand, Cr Susan Baty pointed to a series of recycling project botchups in the past two years that made her wary.

Both agreed that council plans to spend $265,000 sprucing up the Ferguson St recycling centre should be put off until further research was done.

"We don't have a good track record for recycling projects," Cr Baty said.

The council had narrowly escaped a $600,000 penalty for the failure of the old Awapuni landfill methane-capture project. Other parts of the Awapuni recycling plan had run $1.5m over budget, and an extra $500,000 in staff costs had been needed.

The nappy composting scheme had failed, and there were problems with contamination of the glass the council was collecting.

"Now we have a $265,000 proposal to recycle additional material, and we have had no other potential sites looked at, and no discussions with potential partners."

She said the council needed to sort out existing problems before taking on more recycling waste streams.

Cr Baty's request for a feasibility study and cost-benefit analysis of the project, including more information about what volumes of recyclables could be received and what it would cost to run, was supported by the council.

Cr Broad also wanted a business plan to be prepared, and said Vision Manawatu should be involved with developing a recycling hub initiative.

"We can support economic growth in Palmerston North through setting up a recycling hub which we can be proud of."

But his call to join forces with community recyclers to lobby central government for money for the initiative was not supported by the council.

It will, however, do its own advocacy for the Government to introduce product stewardship schemes, where the cost of recycling is front-loaded into the price of consumer goods.

The council's goal is to help cut the amount of rubbish the city sends to the landfill by 75 per cent by 2015.

It would accomplish this partly by removing items that can be recycled from the waste stream.

Manawatu Standard