Grants build Wastebusters’ glass recycling efficiency

Wastbusters staff Ben and Gabe colour-sort glass by hand in Wanaka. PHOTO: SUPPLIED/WASTEBUSTERS

When it comes to transporting glass for recycling, efficiency is key, particularly considering the challenges of New Zealand’s geography.

Operating in the lower half of the South Island means community recycler Wastebusters feel the effects of transport limitations in getting glass to Auckland for recycling. However, two grants from the Glass Packaging Forum will help make their transport systems as efficient as possible.

Wastebusters play an important part in getting glass from the Queenstown Lakes District back to glass bottle and jar manufacturer O-I New Zealand. The importance of this link is only expected to increase with the region experiencing one of the most significant population growth rates in the country.

The grants, of close to $10,000 for a new concrete pad at their Alexandra site and just over $15,000 for 24 skip bins for their Wanaka site, will enable the Wastebusters to upgrade their glass handling and storage systems.

Wastebusters general manager Sue Coutts explains the skip bins are necessary to replace the old system of moving the glass in one-tonne polypropylene bags. These bags represented a health and safety hazard when the glass was loaded into containers in Christchurch and were wasteful as they had to be cut open to empty the glass out.

The bins will also make the job of moving glass across the road from Wastebusters to the Wanaka Transfer Station, from where it is trucked to the 5R Solutions hub in Christchurch, much easier, Sue says.

In addition to local glass, the Alexandra site has the potential to receive colour separated glass from Central Otago District Council’s Cromwell Reycling Depot, she says. This, and the new transport system for the glass, means they need to be able to store up to 120 tonnes of glass at any one time in concrete bunkers at their Alexandra site.

Wastebusters and 5R Solutions form part of a ‘hub and spoke’ model for transporting and sorting glass for recycling in the South Island. These are crucial to improving the quality and quantity of glass going back to the furnace, so growing and supporting these models is a high priority for the Glass Packaging Forum.

The arrival of the skip bins in Wanaka and the infrastructure improvements in Alexandra will take place in April/May during the quieter Autumn period, Sue says.

Read the news story in the Wanaka Sun.