No pain in headache for waste managers


THE excellent recycling practices of Bellingen Shire residents have created a headache for Coffs Coast's new waste managers, Handybin Waste Services, in the post Christmas clean-up.

On Tuesday the mountains of paper, bottles and cardboard being delivered to the Raleigh recycling depot had skip bins overflowing and cars queueing within hours of the gates opening.

Staff at Ecohouse dealing with the situation said they had to direct some people to dump their sorted rubbish to help ease the traffic jams.

Ecohouse partner, Michaela Levy, said volumes at this time of year were always huge but the glitches of the new system had been compounded by the shire's conscientious recycling habits.

"Bellingen people are so good with their recycling," Ms Levy said.

"We are working with Handybins to iron out the hiccups and are asking people to be patient."

She said she welcomed the new service, because it will ultimately be much more efficient than its labour-and-energy-intensive predecessor.

"All three councils have really gone out on a limb for this project, which will extend the lives of the shire landfills by years. It's not an easy task to get it all right from the start."

Regional manager of Handybin Waste Services, Lee Beckett, agreed the volumes had been bigger than expected.

"We have taken extra bins out to the Raleigh and Bellingen transfer depots and we are emptying them daily," Mr Beckett said.

"We are trying to provide an excellent service and avoid frustration but Christmas was certainly not the ideal time to start this contract."

Mr Beckett said Handybins was 'playing catch-up' in some areas of the service.

"The Raleigh depot was not supposed to be part of our contract until July next year, but the council closed the recycling section and so we came on board to help out.

"The recycled material from Bellingen Shire is good quality with few contaminants."

He said originally commercial businesses had also been excluded from collection services.

"We are trying to help those people who fall outside the contract.

"Handybins is happy to talk to businesses wanting their recyclables collected. If they contact us, we can assess their needs and set-up a service."

For information phone 1800 265 495.

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