The Seaview Recycling Plant operates at reduced capacity as the Omicron outbreak spreads. Photo / Provided
About a quarter of Wellington’s mixed recycling will be sent to landfill because staff at Seaview’s sorting plant are self-isolating as a close contact or have tested positive for Covid-19.
Wellington City Council has asked for the public’s patience and understanding as the growing outbreak of Omicron begins to impact its waste management services.
The problem is not isolated. To date, 51 council workers have tested positive for the virus and 129 have been identified as close contacts.
On average, about 60% of employees who usually logged on to a computer at work logged on from home in the past week.
This afternoon, the Arapaki Service Center and Library were closed immediately for deep cleaning due to a positive case there.
The Department of Health today reported that there were 1,487 new cases of the virus in the Capital & Coast District Health Board area, while 12 were in hospital.
Nationwide, there were 23,183 new community cases and a total of 503 people hospitalized.
In a statement this afternoon, Wellington City Council reported that “a number of crews” at the Seaview recycling plant were unable to work due to the virus. This reduced the plant’s operating capacity to 75% with immediate effect until further notice.
About a quarter of the mixed recycling collected in the Wellington region will therefore not be recycled, but sent to landfill. Glass recycling is not affected.
The council said it was working hard with operators to ensure all recyclables could be processed again as soon as possible.
“In the meantime, residents who want to ensure their recycling is recycled have the option of dropping it off at our recycling station at the South Landfill or storing recyclables,” the council said.
Although recycling processing is affected, there are currently no major disruptions to recycling and garbage collection.
The council warned that these services could be impacted in the future and in this case rubbish collection would take priority. This could lead to the complete cessation of recycling collection.
The council said Wellington residents should expect reduced hours, potentially closed facilities and other affected services due to the Omicron outbreak.
Essential services such as waste collection, funeral and crematorium services and water maintenance will continue to operate, but may be reduced in some areas, and most online services and payments will still be available.