Manager of the Grafton Recycling Centre Jamie Kenneally is sick of the growing amount of non-recyclable garbage ending up in Clarence Valley recycling bins.
Manager of the Grafton Recycling Centre Jamie Kenneally is sick of the growing amount of non-recyclable garbage ending up in Clarence Valley recycling bins. Adam Hourigan

Garbage hell for recycler

WHEN it comes to putting the right things in recycling bins, people in lower Clarence communities are doing a far better job than their Grafton counterparts, according to Jamie Kenneally, manager of the Grafton Recycling Centre.

Mr Kenneally and his team at the centre on Kirchner St in Grafton sort through tonnes of material every day – it’s supposed to be just recyclable paper, glass and plastics but Mr Kenneally said people were increasingly putting normal garbage in the yellow bins, too.

“I’ve been doing this for 28 years and I’ve had the council contract for about 22 years and it’s just progressively getting worse,” Mr Kenneally said.

He said many items which his team had to hand-pick out of the rest of the recyclable material defied logic.

“We get a hundred disposable nappies a day at least in the recycling; now I don’t now why any- body would think you can recycle disposable nappies; that’s got me a bit confused,” he said.

No sooner had Mr Kenneally said this during the interview for this story when one of his staff members came in with a medical disposal unit containing used syringes – tossed into a recycling bin by someone and becoming a perfect case-in-point for the problem.

Mr Kenneally said about six roughly skip-sized containers of rubbish were sorted from recycling every day by staff, which was six too many.

Interestingly, Mr Kenneally said the problem became really obvious late last year when the plant began to receive recycling from lower Clarence communities such as Yamba, Maclean and Iluka.

“When we started receiving their stuff it was a lot cleaner than up here – it’s a lot cleaner than Grafton; there’s definitely not as much rubbish in it,” Mr Kenneally said.

Mr Kenneally said it had him ‘buggered’ as to how garbage ended up in the fortnightly-collected recycling bins when garbage bins were collected weekly and usually filled-up less quickly than the yellow bins. He said something had to give and said he would like to see the council begin imposing warnings and penalties on people who were doing the wrong thing.

“We’re just sick of it,” he said.



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