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Demand for dump services more than doubles

Masterton residents were keen to drop off an array of materials, including household rubbish, green waste and recycling. PHOTOS/GIANINA SCHWANECKEEarthcare

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Blue bags stuffed to the brim, boxes of bottles in every colour, sheets of cardboard and trailers filled with green garden waste – the line for the Masterton Recycling Centre stretched several cars down the main road when it opened on Wednesday for the first time since the lockdown began.

Environmental managing director Mike Jones.

Earthcare Environmental managing director Mike Jones said the line had started at about 7.30am and more than 300 cars had been through before midday.

“We normally get that in an entire day,” he said.

During Alert Level 4, the tip was closed to the public, and while this was particularly frustrating for rural residents, it was in the best interests of public and staff safety to do so, Jones said.

New on-site safety measures included reorganising the recycling centre so there were different materials spaced every five metres, recording the details of all vehicles, and customers making cashless payments.

“We’ve seen a huge amount of great behaviour, and people are being very sensible.

“Like in the supermarkets, people also don’t stand and chat together in close proximity.

“If their recycling is sorted into types and people are organised, they can get out much quicker.”

He said there had been more rubbish thrown in with the recycling during the town runs which made it more difficult as this then had to be picked out by hand.

Plastic bags, shredded paper, and already broken glass were some of the biggest contaminants.

Jones said he expected the increased demand to last until the end of the week.

Peter Batson had about six weeks’ worth of household rubbish to drop off.

He said it was “terrible” – maggots in some of the bags meant it was much less pleasant to deal with.

Carolyn Rattray, who lives rurally near Double Bridges at Opaki, was also frustrated that she had not been able to access the tip during Alert Level 4.

“The recycling was starting to get on top of us, but the rubbish is worse because of the smell,” she said.

“I think one of the biggest problems is the health issue – the rubbish attracts vermin like rodents.”

Masterton’s Trevor Stratford was pleased to be able to drop off a trailer load of green waste.

“It’s built up over the lockdown. We didn’t think everybody would be dropping off theirs too.”

He wasn’t fussed by the long line though and was finished after about 15 minutes.

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