Helping fill the glass gap in Devonport

Devonport residents put their used glass bottles and jars in a bin at the Devonport Community Recycling Centre. PHOTO: Supplied/Devonport Community Recycling Centre

Recycling glass bottles and jars has become more accessible on the North Shore thanks to a $20,500 grant from the Glass Packaging Forum.

The grant has seen an upgrade to Global Action Plan Oceania’s (GAPO) glass collection system with a hook bin which allows the transport of 30 tonnes of colour-sorted glass for recycling. GAPO runs the Devonport Community Recycling Centre, and the new equipment will mean they can extend their glass collection system to local businesses, including 18 cafés.

GAPO director Andrew Walters says the new system is far more efficient and cost effective, increasing both the quality and quantity of glass diverted from landfill on the North Shore.

Devonport Business Improvement District Manager Toni van Tonder says they are delighted an efficient and cost-effective glass recycling system will be made available to businesses. “Many of our hospitality businesses owners who produce the most waste in our commercial area are mindful of their environmental impact; we have surveyed them before and there is a strong desire to make changes, but with a lack of options, finance and infrastructure, we can’t always do what we know to be best practise,” she says.

“We all know that working together collaboratively will make the biggest impact. It’s exciting times for Devonport and the Zero Waste Devonport movement.”

While the grant from the Forum covered the cost of the hook bin, GAPO has invested a further $47,300 to establish new food waste and coffee cups collections as well as and cover the cost of changing the glass storage bays, staff wages and other costs associated with the glass collections, Andrew says.

Glass Packaging Forum scheme manager Dominic Salmon says helping the hospitality sector have better access to glass bottle and jar recycling is a key focus area. “The hospitality sector accounts for a large volume of recyclable glass bottles and jars but struggles with issues such as storage space and affordability of recycling.

“This grant will not only help GAPO increase scale and the operational efficiencies associated with the handling of glass, but means glass from the local hospitality industry will be diverted from landfill for recycling,” Dominic says.

The volume of glass coming into the Devonport Community Recycling Centre is also increasing steadily as the community is encouraged to move away from plastic in favour of glass containers, Andrew says. The new hook bin will also allow GAPO to collect glass from other community recycling centres, and will be used to backload a new sustainable landscaping product – a form of metal slag, sourced from Glenbrook in Auckland, which previously went to landfill – to be sold at the Devonport Community Recycling Centre, he says.