Kiwi ingenuity helps crush transport costs post-quake

The opening of new glass breaking technology in Christchurch today is aimed at reducing the impact of the Kaikoura earthquake on the recycling industry.

Innovative Christchurch-based company 5R Solutions Ltd has come up with a way to tackle the problem of high transport costs for glass caused by damage to State Highway 1, thanks to some good old Kiwi ingenuity. The company has designed a one-of-a-kind loading system with built-in bottle breaker to speed up the processing of recovered container glass at their Christchurch hub.

5R managing director Chris Grant says they came up with the design to streamline the glass breaking and loading process and prevent double handling. The machine breaks the container glass before a conveyor loads the material for trucking to Auckland for recycling.

5R acts as a hub by receiving glass bottles and containers from Queenstown Lakes and neighbouring local councils.

Damage to State Highway 1 has significantly increased the cost and availability of transport for sending glass to Auckland to be recycled into new bottles and containers. Breaking the glass as well as loading it quickly is therefore key to reducing costs, Grant says.

The loader and breaker has been built thanks to a grant from the Glass Packaging Forum. Forum Chair Rob Langford says the hub will have the added benefit of improving the logistics of sending bottle and container glass from the Queenstown Lakes District back to furnace.

“With this grant, 5R will be able to provide a more efficient materials handling solution for Queenstown Lakes and neighbouring local authority areas, as well as provide for growth expected from the re-establishment of the hospitality zone in central Christchurch.
“The improved hub will result in lower costs for recovering post-consumer glass from the South Island,” he says.

Glass recovered through 5R will be sent to O-I New Zealand, who last year used 70 per cent recycled glass in the production of new glass bottles and containers. “The quantity and quality of recycled glass received is critical to enabling high quality glass to furnace at O-I, and 5R is a key player in improving access to this high value colour-separated glass,” Langford says.

The grant, which was approved in July, followed a grant in 2016 from the Forum for 5R Solutions to build bottle storage bunkers at their Christchurch hub.