GPF grant helps Russell up its sustainability game

The Packaging Forum CEO Rob Langford, left, with Northland Waste Manager Andrew Sclater. A grant from the GPF will help Northland Waste build new glass storage bunkers.

The Far North District Council’s ability to recycle glass is set to be greatly improved thanks to a $35,000 grant from the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF).

The grant will help the council and its contractor Northland Waste upgrade the storage system at the Russell Transfer Station and Landfill as part of a project to convert the site to a modern resource recovery park.

Northland Waste Manager Andrew Sclater says the new resource recovery park will have a greatly increased focus on keeping waste out of landfill, with glass being an important part of this.

“Glass recovery plays a major role in the transition to a resource recovery park. The old system for glass uses three bins for the public to use, which were emptied into bunkers. Customers with larger glass volumes have historically tipped their bins straight into the three existing bunkers, causing health and safety issues onsite,” Andrew says.

The limited storage space also means the previous contractor had to crush the glass, which increases the risk of loads being rejected by the recycler and sent to landfill, Andrew says. “This is not an ideal outcome considering the time and effort people put into recycling their glass bottles and jars.”

The construction of new storage bunkers mean more glass can be stored, health and safety is improved, and far more glass can be recycled back into bottles rather than lost to landfill.

GPF Scheme Manager Dominic Salmon says improving infrastructure is key to upping the country’s glass recycling rate. “Storage bunkers are a simple and very practical way of tackling issues around storage, contamination and transport.

“Collecting and storing glass which is separated into its three colours (green, brown and clear) in large enough quantities to make transport viable is a cornerstone of the recycling system,” he says.

The GPF membership has funded a number of infrastructure projects around the country, including the Re:Sort Resource Recovery Park in Kerikeri in 2019.