Funding boost for Oamaru community recyclers

A mainstay in Oamaru’s recycling and reuse efforts, the Waitaki Resource Recovery Park, has received a $18,400 boost from the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF) to help them manage the increase they’ve seen in glass volumes for recycling.

The grant will not only increase the amount of glass the park can accept for recycling at the park but improve health and safety for employees and visitors, by funding the construction of two new storage bunkers.

The recovery park is run by not-for-profit organisation Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust. Operations Manager Trish Hurley says the park has seen a marked increase in glass volumes in the past few years.

The recovery park also hosts a number of school groups and other organisations which visit the site to learn about recycling, she says. Better storage of the glass will therefore ensure health and safety is up to scratch.

“The new purpose-built bunkers give us multiple benefits. They have allowed us to be more efficient with our glass loading and transportation, as well as complying with noise restrictions and health and safety for our staff and customers. They make for a much more pleasant recycling experience for all,” Trish says.

GPF Scheme Manager Dominic Salmon says glass storage bunkers are simple but effective infrastructure which make a substantial difference to glass recycling. “Best practice for glass recycling is to separate the bottles and jars into the three colours (clear, brown, and green), so it’s important to store the glass in such a way that the colours don’t mix – such as when storage overflows.”

Supporting glass recovery from the South Island is a focus of the GPF, Dominic says. “Getting glass from the South Island to the furnace in Auckland can be a challenge, so we work with recyclers like the Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust to make transport as efficient as possible.”

Glass can be infinitely recycled at the country’s only glass container manufacturer O-I New Zealand in Auckland, Dominic says. It’s also one of the most sustainable packaging materials.

Using recycled glass to make new glass bottles and jars reduces the need for virgin material – in fact, 1kg of recycled glass replaces 1.2kg of virgin materials.  It also means the furnaces can run at a lower temperature so there are less emissions, Dominic says.  According to the latest information from O-I, every 10 percent of recycled glass content reduces emissions by 5 percent and generates energy savings of approximately 3 percent. 

“A great little statistic we’d love people to keep in mind when doing their recycling is that the energy saved by recycling a single bottle could light a 15-watt low-energy light bulb for 24 hours,” Dominic says.