The Waitaki Resource Recovery Park (WRRP) is leading the way for recycling in the lower South Island.
The recovery park has secured a soft plastics packaging contract, becoming the only drop-off point south of Christchurch.
WRRP operations manager Trish Hurley said people could take products to the Chelmer St site and there was a possibility other collection points would be added at supermarkets and The Warehouse for WRRP staff to pick up.
Soft plastics included bread bags, chip packets, soft food pouches, confectionery bags and courier bags — anything ‘‘you can scrunch up into a ball’’.
The products would be baled at WRRP and sent to Future Post in the North Island, to be recycled into other products.
Mrs Hurley said ‘‘not many towns’’ provided the soft plastic service and she was ‘‘ecstatic’’ to have it in Oamaru, following a year of negotiations.
It was also some positive news, following last month’s arson fire at the recovery park.
‘‘We’re extremely excited about starting another new chapter,’’ Mrs Hurley said.
‘‘We get a lot of customers that ring us every week wanting to know when we’re going to be able to do soft packaging, because they’ve heard that Christchurch or Auckland is doing it.’’
She hoped to have the service ‘‘up and running’’ in the next couple of weeks.
For the past month, WRRP had also been taking expanded polystyrene, which was sent to Christchurch and made into home insulation.
There had already four one tonne bags sent away, showing there was a demand for the service.
Polystyrene had to be delivered to the domestic area in ‘‘whole form’’, and there was a $5 charge to cover the freight cost, she said.
Since June, WRRP had been piloting a collection trial for recycling Tetra Pak containers, which were sent to Saveboard.
Mrs Hurley said the trial was going so well, it had been opened up to other towns in New Zealand.
‘‘The fact that little old Waitaki was the first on the map for that is absolutely amazing.’’
Being able to expand the company’s services was important in getting more of the community involved and wanting to recycle.
‘‘We don’t get any more for doing it, but we’re trying to offer more and more services for our community,’’ she said.
‘‘They can see the benefits and it also helps people reduce their waste cost, because they haven’t got as much to put in their rubbish.
‘‘We will continue to try and find other markets and places for products to go rather than them going to landfill. We’re very passionate about what we do here.’’
She thanked the community for its ‘‘love and support’’ following the arson fire which destroyed a storage area and materials on October 24.