Full Kerbside collections to resume, with a change in plastic recycling 11 May 2020 Following the announcement of New Zealand moving to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 on Thursday, we’re working to resume full Kerbside rubbish and recycling collections with blue Council bags, recycling in wheelie bins and glass in crates. When regular collections resume one major change that will be implemented is that we'll only take plastic types 1 and 2 in wheelie bins and at our Refuse Transfer Stations. Any plastic that doesn’t have a number 1 or 2 in a recycling triangle on it should go into the general rubbish. Please rinse out plastic before putting it in the wheelie bin, and discard the lids - they're too small to recycle. See the heading below “Why the change now?” for the reasons behind this change. For the first two weeks of our full fortnightly recycling collections, all recycling except glass will be going to landfill while the sorting centre in Kopu is brought back online. If you’ve been storing plastic, waiting for recycling collections to resume, now is the time to put it out for collection, or take if to your nearest Refuse Transfer Station for disposal. The transition to our full Kerbside service will be rolled out over an eight-week period, like this: (Click the above table to open a larger version) Our Kerbside schedules are on our website at tcdc.govt.nz/kerbside. How do I know what are plastics 1 and 2? Look for the number on the bottom of the plastic. Many things made of plastic have a triangle made of arrows with a number inside it. That number is the type of plastic. If there’s a 1 or 2 inside the triangle, rinse it out and put it in your wheelie bin for collection. Discard the lid. Anything smaller than a yoghurt pottle is too small to be recycled. Any plastic that doesn’t have a 1 or 2 on it should go into the rubbish. Please don’t try to ‘wishcycle’ by putting plastics 3 to 7, or plastics with no number, in your wheelie bin. This will contaminate the batch and excessive contamination like this will result in the entire truckload having to go in the landfill. Why the change now? The change to collecting only plastics 1 and 2 has nothing to do with COVID-19. Plastics numbered 1 and 2 can be recycled within New Zealand but types 3 to 7 have to be shipped overseas for processing and are no longer accepted by most global markets. A number of initiatives have been investigated across New Zealand for recycling plastics 3 to 7, however the viability of this remains largely impractical, so these plastics will now be going to landfill in New Zealand for now. Recycling sent overseas can end up as someone else’s rubbish. Shipping our recycling overseas also incurs a large carbon cost and can be processed in countries with significantly different employment practices to New Zealand – potentially putting those workers at risk handling refuse in unsafe conditions. For these reasons, it’s best that we handle all our recycling here in New Zealand. We are also asking that people on the Coromandel avoid buying products that use non-recyclable plastic where possible, in order to lessen the amount of plastic going into landfill. What about plastic bags? Soft plastics like bread bags and cling film, or any plastic that is soft and can be scrunched up such as some food packaging, can’t be recycled in your Kerbside collection. Some shops in Auckland and Hamilton and elsewhere have Love NZ Soft Plastics Recycling bins where you can leave plastic bags for recycling. Check recycling.kiwi.nz for the nearest locations. Learn about reducing waste at events If you’re an event organiser, check out our new guide to Event Planning on the Coromandel, on our website at tcdc.govt.nz/events. Contract negotiations with SMART concluded Our Council and our solid waste contracting partner, Smart Environmental Ltd, have confirmed the continuing operation of the contract between them, under which Smart provides waste collection and disposal services in the Thames-Coromandel District. We have been in negotiations with Smart for some time over a number of issues, including amending the contract to respond to China’s recent restriction on accepting recycling and waste. Those negotiations took longer than anticipated after allegations were made against Smart of inappropriate conduct regarding the use of, and payment for, Council facilities. We take our fiscal responsibilities and contract management very seriously. We engaged waste management experts Morrison Low and forensic services experts PwC to investigate the allegations, with Smart’s cooperation. Those investigations have concluded that the allegations are either rebutted by the evidence or, in one instance, that the amounts involved were not material to the contract and therefore not necessary to determine. With the investigations now concluded, we have resolved commercial issues directly with Smart, without any disruption to the Thames-Coromandel region’s waste collection and disposal services. Other Council services at Alert Level 2 We’re working on what our other Council services look like under Alert Level 2 and we will be announcing changes to Council services as soon as we can. For the latest on Council services under Alert Level 3, go to tcdc.govt.nz/covid-19. Our three district libraries, Thames, Tairua and Mercury Bay will remain closed to the public at this stage; however, they will offer a click and collect, call and collect and home delivery service. The book drops will be open, and we will encourage people to return their books so we can quarantine them before re-shelving. We're working on getting back to a full service as soon as it's safe to do so. Library members can access over 18,000 e-books and e-audiobooks, which can be borrowed online 24/7 - tcdc.govt.nz/libraries. We've turned the free WiFi back on at our district libraries. It's available from 8am to 8pm and log-in details are posted on the libraries' doors, but we ask users to please maintain social distancing from others. Water treatment plant upgrades Our project to upgrade our drinking water treatment plants to ensure compliance with the NZ Drinking Water Standards resumed two weeks ago with workers back on site at the Pauanui and Tairua plants. At Pauanui this week, contractors are constructing the lining of the chemical sheds, installing rollers doors on the sheds and continuing tying the reinforcing steel for the pads of the tank stands. At Tairua this week, the toilet is being installed, lino is being laid, work on the driveway is progressing with kerb and channeling being built, the entrance of the concrete driveway being boxed and poured, the last part of the footpath being poured and the fibre network is being installed. See tcdc.govt.nz/dws for more on the drinking water standards upgrade project. Economic Development forums We’ve had a great response to our invitation to online forums we're hosting so our local people can understand how the building/construction and hospitality sectors may operate in the medium to long-term as we move through the Alert Levels of COVID-19. Both forums will be hosted by ZOOM: • Hospitality: 3pm, Tuesday 12 May • Building/construction: 5.30pm, Wednesday 13 May Please register your interest to firstname.lastname@example.org along with any questions that you would like answered. We’re also looking at another forum in the next fortnight for the retail sector. See tcdc.govt.nz/supportlocal for more information. Mighty Waikato e-cook book The Waikato Civil Defence Emergency Management (CDEM) Group, with support from Hamilton & Waikato Tourism, has launched the Mighty Waikato Cookbook. The cookbook, released on Mother’s Day yesterday, celebrates some of our favourite food establishments in the Waikato, encourages local support as the hospitality industry starts to open doors again, and raises money to help put food on the table for the region’s most vulnerable during recovery from COVID-19. Every donation received for an online copy will go directly to community support projects by Momentum Waikato and Wise Group. Momentum Waikato’s Greatest Needs Appeal raises money to accelerate and secure the delivery of food and winter essentials to those in real need, partnering with Wise Group and its new Here to Help U service so it knows where to target the support. Wise Group’s Here to Help U project aims to meet the surge in demand for social services caused by the COVID-19 crisis. A large commercial kitchen at Claudelands Event Centre has so far produced over 24,000 meals and 2500 food parcels, distributed to those in need across the region by an ever-growing group of community providers. At the same time, Wise Group’s Houchen Hub, supported by Momentum Waikato, has also been producing frozen meals and care packages for vulnerable families across the Waikato. The team has distributed 590 food parcels, 1635 frozen meals and 283 hygiene packs since the start of the crisis. The cookbook is a culinary journey of the Waikato from the mountains to the sea. It’s filled with delicious recipes from iconic restaurants and cafes. With over 50 recipes and 40 establishments, there is something for everyone. The Mighty Waikato Cookbook can be bought for a donation and downloaded at mightywaikatocookbook.co.nz. Donations are pay what you can, from as little as $5 to as much as you feel you can give. An idea could be to pay the price of a favourite meal out which you have been unable to have since lockdown began or consider how much it costs to feed a family for one day. Get your copy now at www.mightywaikatocookbook.co.nz Follow the journey on Instagram @mightywaikatocookbook COVID-19 testing The symptoms of COVID-19 are: • A cough • A high temperature (at least 38°C) • Shortness of breath • Sore throat • Sneezing and running nose • Temporary loss of smell If you are displaying the symptoms above you can phone Healthline on 0800 358 5453. Healthline will provide guidance on whether assessment and testing is needed. If you cannot get through to Healthline you can also phone your general practice/doctor for advice and make a booking for an assessment with them too. The Waikato DHB website lists locations of community-based assessment centres and mobile testing locations where you can be tested for COVID-19.