GPF grant gets community recyclers around transport challenge

A Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust team member loads colour-sorted glass into the new storage bunkers at their site in Oamaru.

A grant from the Glass Packaging Forum has helped keep high-quality recycled glass flowing from the South Island’s Waitaki district to Auckland to be made into new containers.

The $38,500 grant has enabled community recyclers the Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust to boost their glass storage capacity, making transport viable again.

The Trust’s Operations Manager Trish Hurley says the amount of glass through their site has doubled to 600 tonnes a year since they began operating in 2010. However, increasing freight costs from inflation and the rising cost of fuel had become a major challenge.

“The increase in freight costs meant sending the glass in containers to Auckland for recycling wasn’t viable anymore so we had to look at other options,” she says.

The decision was made to partner with 5R Solutions in Christchurch, which aggregates a large portion of the South Island’s recycled glass before being sent to glass recycler Visy in Auckland. “To make this viable we had to increase our storage capacity so the glass can be trucked to Christchurch. This is where the GPF stepped in to help,” Trish says.

The Trust, which is based in Oamaru, contributed $10,000 to top up the GPF’s grant, with the Waitaki District Council matching this, she says.

“We are extremely happy with how well this new set up is going. It certainly is making it a lot easier for our staff and, also means we can look at taking more recycled glass from other parts of our district.”

The trust processes all the recycling for the Waitaki district and, also accepts glass from the Palmerston district, Trish says. She expects the glass collections to increase by 60 tonnes a year as glass-separate kerbside collections become more prevalent.

Glass Packaging Forum Scheme Manager Dominic Salmon says supporting glass recycling operations in the South Island is a particular focus. “We know the recyclers in Te Waipounnamu the South Island have different challenges, especially in terms of transport.

“The Waitaki Resource Recovery Trust is a really well-run community operation and keeps a large amount of highly recyclable glass out of landfill, so we were only too happy to help,” he says.