Boost for Queenstown public place glass recycling

Tonnes of glass in the Queenstown District which used to go to landfill will now be recycled thanks to a grant from the Glass Packaging Forum.

The Forum has been in discussions with the Queenstown Lakes District Council to help improve the quantity and quality of glass from tourism and key foot traffic areas going to recycling. The grant, of just over $10,000, has allowed the Council to place four public bottle banks around the Wakatipu Ward in Queenstown.

This is an interim step to increasing the recovery rates of recyclable glass from the region, something the Forum is actively working on with the Council.
Queenstown Lakes District Council Contracts Manager Laura Gledhill says all glass collected from the kerbside goes to landfill due to contamination by other recyclable materials. However, this is not in line with their waste minimisation objectives, she says.

The Council is reviewing its current method for kerbside glass recycling collection prior to the next contract round in 2019, and the bottle banks will go some way to reducing the amount of glass landfilled in the meantime.

Importantly, the bottle banks will give tourists a way to recycle their glass, Laura says. “The Queenstown Lakes area is a magnet for tourists, which brings particular challenges in the area of waste management. This visitor impact is more pronounced in Queenstown Lakes District than in other districts of New Zealand.”

The Council estimates between 1.5 and 4.5 tonnes of colour-sorted glass will be collected via the bottle banks each week, Laura says.
The public bottle banks join one placed at Pak n Save Queenstown by the store late last year, thanks to a separate grant from the Forum. Those using the bottle banks can be confident the glass will definitely be recycled.

The glass from the bottle banks is sent to the 5R Solutions hub in Christchurch. From there it is freighted to New Zealand’s only glass bottle and jar manufacturer O-I New Zealand in Auckland for recycling.

Queenstown Lakes District Mayor Jim Boult, left, and Ricci Peyroux of Smart Environmental with one of the four public bottle banks placed in Queenstown. PHOTO: Supplied/Queenstown Lakes District Council