More Marlborough glass back to the furnace

Recycling is set to become far more accessible for residents and visitors in the Marlborough Sounds and Awatere Valley.

A $10,000 grant from the Glass Packaging Forum has enabled the Marlborough District Council to expand its Rural Community Recycling programme to include Okiwi Bay in the Marlborough Sounds, and the Awatere Valley, south of Blenheim. This will see a 20m3 container at each location, giving residents and visitors far easier access to recycling.

The programme already has containers in seven other rural sites around Marlborough, resulting in hundreds of tonnes of recyclable material, like glass, cardboard and plastic being diverted from landfill every year. During 2016/17 over 353 tonnes of recyclables were collected from the seven sites, of which glass made up over 203 tonnes.

Council’s Solid Waste Manager Alec McNeil says Okiwi Bay and the Awatere Valley were chosen as they are currently “isolated from direct recycling services”.

“The travel time for residents and visitors from these areas to the Resource Centre in Blenheim can take between two and four hours roundtrip. The nearest transfer stations (in Seddon and Rai Valley) are only open for limited hours during the week – 12 hours total. The installation of these containers would provide not only a service to these areas but also a feeling of connectivity to the wider region,” he says.

The Awatere Valley container was placed on February 19, while the container in Okiwi Bay will be placed a week later, Alec says.

While both areas have relatively low populations during the winter months – there are less than 100 winter residents in Okiwi Bay and some 50 properties in the Awatere Valley – both experience a huge influx over summer. In peak season the resident and visitor population in Okiwi Bay is up to 1500, while the Awatere Valley Road is a popular alternative scenic route to Hanmer Springs via the Molesworth Station, seeing hundreds of cars per day in summer, he says.

The new containers will be placed next to the Awatere Valley Road, approximately 25km from the junction with State Highway 1, and the other within the Okiwi Bay settlement on council land, Alec says. He expects around 56 tonnes of recyclable material will be collected from them, of which glass will make up nearly 60 per cent.

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