Covid-19: Lockdown not the best time for a spring clean

3:50 pm on 27 March 2020

The right time to spring clean is not during a nation-wide lockdown that aims to prevent the spread of coronavirus, a recycling boss says.

Kerbside recycling could be on the cards for Renwick after illegal dumping forced the town's old container to close.

Kerbside collection of recycling will continue in Marlborough but it'll be going to landfill until further notice. Photo: CHLOE RANFORD / LDR

Marlborough District Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil says cleaning out a house during the four-week isolation period will only create more rubbish for the region's collection team to sort through, and add pressure on staff, who were trying to practice social distancing.

The council announced earlier this week that all recycling from kerbside collections in Blenheim and Picton would "continue as normal", but go to landfill until "further notice". Rural transfer stations would remain open.

But "tips to occupy people's time", which often encouraged people to spring clean, spurred Mr McNeil to double down on his 'minimal waste' message. He said issues could arise if everyone did a spring clean.

Marlborough District Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil

Marlborough District Council solid waste manager Alec McNeil Photo: Chloe Ranford / LDR

"It [the lockdown] is not about going home and doing up a whole pile of waste because of a spring clean. This is not a holiday, it's a lockdown.

"If it's safe to leave it where it is, then leave it where it is. If it's not safe to keep at home - things like rotten food - then put it up for collection.

"It's the restriction we've got to focus on here."

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced on Monday the country would shut down after the Ministry of Health confirmed it believed two cases of coronavirus had come about from community transmission. There have now been 283 confirmed and probable cases of Covid-19 in New Zealand.

Mr McNeil advised people to "sit down and shut [their] door".

Mr McNeil said he expected to see a downturn in rubbish and recycling being dropped off at waste facilities, off Taylor Pass Rd, during the lockdown, as businesses and residents close their doors.

He had seen an increase in the number of people bringing rubbish and recycling to facilities about a week before the lockdown kicked in.

The surge could be attributed to people who feared everything in Marlborough would "grind to a halt" during the lockdown, or people who were less concerned, but wanted to drop off their excess rubbish.

"If that's people trying to get in before the shut down, then that's great, because they might be thinking 'I'm not going to generate anything in the next few weeks' ... The message to get out there is things are still open.​"

Open for business were Marlborough's resource recovery centre, but with controlled social distancing, and Bluegum's landfill near Blenheim.

The region's reuse centre was closed. Mr McNeil asked people to wash their hands thoroughly after handling rubbish or recycling and to carry cleaning wipes to use at the council's transfer stations, resource recovery centre, rural community recycling bins and coin skips.

"Calm down, and we'll see you in a few weeks," he said.

Kerbside collection on public holidays in Marlborough

  • Good Friday: Collection on Friday
  • Easter Monday: Collection on Monday
  • Anzac Day: Collection on Anzac Day
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