Boost for Tasman glass recycling as summer season hits

A grant from the Glass Packaging Forum has meant the Tasman District Council is ready to handle the ever-increasing volume of glass bottles and jars for recycling. PHOTO: TASMAN DISTRICT COUNCIL

The fast approaching, sunny Tasman summer will mean more turning of bottle caps and popping of corks, but the region’s glass recycling system is ready for the influx thanks to a grant from the Glass Packaging Forum.

The $20,000 grant has been used by the Tasman District Council, along with just over $20,000 of its own funding, to upgrade the Mariri Resource Recovery Centre outside Motueka. It will mean the centre can accept and store more glass bottles and jars before sending them to be recycled at New Zealand’s only container glass manufacturer O-I NZ in Auckland.

Tasman District Council Team Leader – Stormwater and Waste Management David Stephenson says increasing glass volumes in the region, particularly in summer, had been putting pressure on existing storage. Previously glass collected for recycling in the region was being consolidated at the Richmond Resource Recovery Centre before being sent to O-I.

“However, the increase in glass volumes have meant collection vehicles from more remote parts of Tasman District are now needing to empty glass at other resource recovery centres in the summer period, including Mariri,” David says. “We currently handle 388 tonnes of glass per annum through this site and would expect to grow this to 500 tonnes.”

The council had expanded glass handling capacity at the Mariri and Takaka Resource Recovery Centres in the past year, but more capacity was still needed. The further expanded capacity at Mariri also means council can avoid double handling and will be able to send glass direct from the centre to Auckland, rather than via the Richmond centre, he says.

Glass Packaging Forum scheme manager Dominic Salmon says projects like these are a priority for the Forum as they streamline the flow of glass from collection to the furnace for recycling. “The Forum is all about improving the quality and quantity of glass being recycled, and this project is a great use of the levies paid by the Forum’s members to achieve this,” Dominic says.

To date the Forum has funded over $2.4 million in grants for infrastructure, public place and event recycling and research.