Kaikoura’s glass headed for recycling instead of landfill

Steve Gill of Innovative Waste Kaikoura loads brown glass destined for recycling.

Hundreds of tonnes of glass bottles and jars collected in Kaikoura are now being recycled rather than being used for drainage and cover on the landfill thanks to a partnership between Innovative Waste Kaikoura, the Glass Packaging Forum and 5R Solutions in Christchurch.

A $20,000 grant from the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF) helped Innovative Waste Kaikoura (IWK) build storage bunkers to make transport viable. The recently completed bunkers hold glass which has been sorted into its three base colours (clear, green, brown) before being freighted to the glass hub at 5R Solutions in Christchurch. From there it goes to Auckland to be recycled into new glass containers.

“To make transporting the glass economically viable it needs to be aggregated, so storage bunkers are essential,” says IWK General Manager Jacki Remihana.

She explained that previously IWK collected glass and crushed it on site to use it as landfill cover and drainage. It was now being collected and colour-sorted, which is considered industry best practice.

“We’re going to roll out new kerbside bins to households to colour sort their glass for pick up. This will start on 1 October,” Jacki says.

GPF Scheme Manager Dominic Salmon says helping organisations like IWK improve their glass collection and recycling is a primary focus. “Glass is infinitely recyclable and reduces emissions because the glass furnace can run at lower temperatures when you use recycled material.

“Innovative Waste Kaikoura do a great job collecting about 500 tonnes of glass a year, so we’re really happy to help them get it recycled,” Dominic says.

Besides kerbside recycling, residents can also take recycling to the IWK resource recovery centre.

Jacki says they are working with the Kaikoura District Council to offer colour-sorted glass recycling stations around the district in the future.