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Council's Everyday COVID Warriors: Solid Waste Team

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They are the everyday warriors bringing a little normalcy to life in COVID times -  follow our mini-series to discover the Central Hawke’s Bay workers who keep the community cogs turning.

It’s early morning, there’s a chill in the air and Central Hawke’s Bay’s streets are empty, bar the odd figure making a mad dressing-gown dash to the kerbside with their rubbish and recycling.

Lockdown for many people in the community was an experience we’d rather bin, but did you ever spare a thought for those tasked with disposing of our solid waste amidst the COVID-19 chaos?

There was no rest for the hardworking men and women driving collection trucks and toiling behind the scenes at our transfer stations in Alert Levels 4 and 3.

People like Phil (pictured), who still had a smile or thumbs up to spare for anyone he met, during socially distanced encounters along his collection route.

Throughout New Zealand, Councils faced various restrictions in Alert Level 4, for many, this meant they had no choice but to send recycling to landfill during Lockdown.

Central Hawke's Bay District Council was lucky enough to avoid this by routing recycled plastics, cans and fibre to Earthcare in Masterton – where an optical sorter allowed them to operate at Alert Levels 4 and 3.

When a fire at the plant put them out for 8 weeks -our recycling was sent to Kopu MRF (Materials Recovery Facility) while glass continued to be collected and sent to VISY in Auckland.

During this time rubbish and recycling services were a vital cog, and staff who stayed on to keep things running smoothly, worked extra hard to deal with increased volumes of waste from local bubbles.

You’ll continue to see them out and about collecting at Level 2 – so make sure to keep up the good work putting your washed, sorted and correctly filled recycling crates to the kerbside along with Council rubbish bags.

With so much uncertainty in the world, it’s these dedicated individuals that make all the difference by continuing the routine of normal life, even in extraordinary circumstances.

Remember to spare a thought (and perhaps a wave) for our everyday heroes, doing their bit to maintain a #WasteFreeCHB.

16 September 2021

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