Media release: Arrangements for waste transfer stations during lockdown

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Transfer stations across Southland and Invercargill will close indefinitely to the general public at the end of business this afternoon, Wednesday 25 March 2020, as New Zealand prepares to move to a level 4 alert in its response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Gore District Council will be operating the Gore transfer station, albeit it in a limited capacity.

Kerbside rubbish and recycling collection services in Invercargill, Southland District and Gore District will continue as usual. Please continue to put your wheelie-bins out for collection on your usual pickup day.

The Te Anau, Winton and Invercargill transfer stations will be open only to commercial operators who provide waste services to essential businesses – for example, supermarkets, food producers, pharmacies and hospitals – as well as to private contractors who currently provide household waste collection.

If you do not have waste collection services available to you through your council’s kerbside collection service, you will be able to register your need with your local council for the disposal of household bagged waste and your council will work with you to accommodate your needs. However, any decisions will be based on preserving public health during the Covid-19 response. We ask that ratepayers and members of the public show patience as we work through this difficult time.

If it is considered there is an appropriate need for transfer stations to open further this may be possible by prior arrangement but for restricted hours only. Please note that the transfer stations will operate using best health practice guidelines, including physical distancing and one-in, one-out.

If there is an appropriate need for transfer stations to open by appointment for restricted hours, the transfer stations will operate using best health practice guidelines, including physical distancing and one-in, one-out.

It is important to note that you will not be able to register to dispose of green waste at transfer stations during this time. Green waste disposal is not classified by the government as an essential service. Your gardens and lawns can be tended to after this national emergency without exposing yourself or transfer station personnel to unnecessary health risks.

Likewise, in the current crisis, operating manual material recycling facilities is not considered an essential service. In the interests of staff safety and following national practices, collected recyclables will be disposed of to landfill until the COVID-19 alert returns to level 2.

Southland District Council and Invercargill City Council recognise the need to provide essential services, but during this extraordinary period of national lockdown a range of factors need to be considered.

In order to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives by limiting human contact, the government is instructing people to stay home and resist non-essential travel. Interactions should be confined where possible to those in your “bubble”, or close family unit.

Closing transfer stations except under special circumstances will help to limit exposure to the COVID-19 virus by contractors and transfer station staff, and allow better management of personal protection equipment if supplies become restricted.

The measures taken today align with those taken by councils throughout New Zealand.

For the meantime, this is the new normal and we ask you to bear with us. Please be responsible, stay safe and look after your family.

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