Grant helps turn the tide on Coromandel’s glass recycling

A grant of nearly $20,000 has helped Smart Environmental increase storage capacity on the Coromandel Peninsula.

A sea of glass bottles and jars at Coromandel Peninsula recycling depots has become a thing of the past thanks to a grant from the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF).

The grant, of nearly $20,000, helped Smart Environmental increase storage capacity and transport logistics at two transfer stations – at Kopu and Tairua – just in time to for the influx over the past holiday season. The new bunkers where completed in November.

The funding was used to build three concrete bunkers at each of the transfer stations to store glass sorted into clear, green and brown. The glass is then transported to Auckland-based glass bottle and jar manufacturer O-I New Zealand to be recycled.

Smart Environmental operates 12 transfer stations in the eastern Waikato for three councils.

The company’s RTS Manager Eastern Waikato, Rodney Barriball, says the improvement has been significant. “Although glass volumes on the Coromandel Peninsula have remained on the increase the extra volume created by the new bunkers has allowed for a more controlled removal of glass over the peak period, and a better experience for the public at the transfer station. There is no longer a sea of glass, as seen in previous years,” he says.

“The grant has also helped make the removal of glass at kerbside much more efficient in general.” He also praised residents for their recycling efforts. “Overall the standard of glass recycling bins presented at kerbside has been good, with only a few contaminated with plastics or other materials.”

With the increase in volumes it is expected some 850 tonnes of glass will be diverted from landfill each year, Rodney says.

GPF scheme manager Dominic Salmon says this is the first grant they have allocated to the Coromandel region. “It’s great to see it make such an immediate and marked impact on glass recycling.”

Funds for grants allocated by the GPF come from levies paid by around 100 voluntary members, who operate New Zealand’s only product stewardship programme for container glass, Dominic says. To date the GPF has funded more than $2.7 million in grants.