Grant helps take recycling to Whanganui pensioners

Whanganui District Council pensioner housing complex residents Allan and Sandra make use of one of the new recycling containers installed as part of a trial.

Recycling has become far easier for residents at three Whanganui pensioner housing complexes after the installation of recycling containers. Photo: Whanganui District Council

The containers are part of a year-long trial by the Whanganui District Council as it looks to make access to recycling facilities easier, particularly for residents who aren’t able make use of the Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre. There is no kerbside recycling service in Whanganui.

The trial has been supported by a grant from the Glass Packaging Forum, and should it be successful, will be rolled out to nine other pensioner housing complexes, Whanganui District Council Waste Advisor Stuart Hylton says.

“Council has 12 pensioner housing units housing around 250 residents. This trial chose three complexes which showed the greatest interest in using a service following a survey of all complexes. Council will monitor the success of the trial, including costs to determine whether it should be rolled out to all pensioner housing complexes across the district.”

The Council originally applied for just over $8,000 from the Forum to help fund the recycling containers. However, the Forum was able source containers through its network and funded the $750 transport cost.

“We were able to use our networks to supply bins for this worthwhile trial which will provide access to recycling for who aren’t necessarily able to get to a recycling centre,” Glass Packaging Forum Scheme Manager Dominic Salmon says.

“The trial means more glass will be diverted from landfill to be recycled which supports our aim of an 82% recovery rate for glass bottles and jars in New Zealand. We hope the trial is a success and is rolled out more widely.”

Improving glass recycling is the core function of the Forum, which runs the country’s only Government-accredited, voluntary product stewardship scheme for glass bottles and jars, Dominic says.

The Forum has to date funded over $3.4 million in grants for projects ranging from infrastructure to public place recycling, events, and research. This funding is sourced through the Forum’s product stewardship scheme, which has over 100 member brands that pay a voluntary levy based on the amount of glass they put to market.

Glass is recycled at the country’s only glass container manufacturer O-I New Zealand.

Glass going to landfill is huge waste of valuable resources as it can be infinitely recycled in New Zealand, 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.