End to Tauranga’s glass recycling headache in sight

A $165,000 grant from the Glass Packaging Forum will help ensure Tauranga’s container glass is kept out of landfill and goes back to the furnace to be recycled.

Glass recycling will once again become quick and easy for Tauranga residents with the city council set to introduce a new kerbside collection service.

The interim, rates-funded service will see each household issued with a container specifically for glass recycling, ensuring glass is kept apart from other recyclables. The Glass Packaging Forum has contributed $165,000 – around 25 percent of the total cost of the glass recycling containers.

Forum scheme manager Dominic Salmon says the grant is the largest awarded by the Forum to date. Since its inception in 2006 the Forum has awarded around $2 million in grants for a wide range of projects that improve recycling outcomes for glass bottles and jars.

Kerbside recycling bins given the green light for Tauranga (NewstalkZB)
Glass recycling solutions in Tauranga (Sun Live)

Funding comes from levies paid by members of the Glass Packaging Forum voluntary product stewardship scheme, Dominic says. “The main aim of the scheme is to improve the quality and quantity of container glass available for recycling. This funding is product stewardship in action as it is the companies which make and sell glass helping to keep it out of landfill.”

According to Tauranga City Council’s Resource Recovery and Waste Manager, Rebecca Maiden, the collection service will be introduced in October. It has come about to address the lack of a kerbside glass recycling following the decision by private waste companies to stop collecting glass at the kerbside in March.

“We commend Tauranga City Council for acting so swiftly to ensure glass can be recycled and not sent to landfill,” Dominic says.

The collection service, for glass bottles and jars, will run in conjunction with the current private kerbside rubbish and recycling services. A full kerbside waste and recycling service, which takes longer to implement, will be introduced to all residential properties in 2021, the council says.

A council application to the Ministry of the Environment has been submitted for further contribution to the cost of the containers.

Recycled glass bottles and jars are the perfect example of the circular economy at work, Dominic says. Glass is 100 percent recyclable and can be infinitely recycled.

Using recycled glass produces less emissions and reduces the reliance on virgin materials. It therefore makes a positive contribution to New Zealand’s efforts to limit climate change, he says.

In 2017, the average recycled glass content for New Zealand’s only glass bottle and jar manufacturer O-I NZ was 69 percentO-I will accept as much recycled glass (cullet) as it can get, provided it is of the required quality, Dominic says.