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Community abuses Whangaparaoa oil recycling bin

Posted at 10:36am Tuesday 06 Aug, 2019

A free service that collected and recycled used engine oil has been removed from the Hibiscus Coast after it was abused.

The bin, designed to collect used engine oil in sealed containers, was operated by the Recovering Oil Saves the Environment (ROSE) Group – a collective of Salters Cartage, Fulton Hogan and Petroleum Services. It has been located outside Repco on Whangaparaoa Road since 2011 and was removed last month.

Repco branch manager Sean Hattam says he had to make the call to have the bin removed after years of people putting all sorts of other things in there, including paint and household rubbish. He says liquids were often put in the bin in unsealed containers or even in plastic bags.

“It was getting worse all the time and the spillages and open containers, especially when it rained, were becoming a risk to the environment,” Sean says. “It's a real shame this service had to go. A few inconsiderate people have ruined it for the majority.”

Although it's not Repco's bin, the company had to use its spill kit three times in the past year to prevent oil from unsealed containers escaping into the nearby stormwater drain.

Salters Cartage collects the bins from around Auckland. Its operations coordinator, Alex Stenson, says the Hibiscus Coast was always one of the worst for dumping things other than oil in the bin.

At the same time, significant amounts of engine oil were being recycled – Alex says two full bins were removed from the Coast every week, containing an average of 4000 litres and 50-200 plastic oil containers. The recycled oil is used by businesses including Fulton Hogan, which uses it to fuel its asphalt production plants; the plastics are granulated and turned into fence posts.

Last month the Government renewed its accreditation of the ROSE scheme for another seven years. In announcing the accreditation, Association Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said the scheme has reduced the potential for illegal or unsafe dumping of used oil. She said the volumes of used oil collected have grown –250 percent more oil was collected in 2017/18 than in 2011/12.

After the bin at Repco Whangaparaoa was removed, a number of containers and bags of oil were dumped outside the store. Signs were erected to deter this practice but some dumping has continued – with oil containers placed right below the signs.

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