Kiwi ingenuity to solve glass recycling quandary

Hygge Café co-owner Robyn Brannigan puts glass out for recycling using the new trolleys designed by Bin Hire.

A Hawke’s Bay company’s good old Kiwi ingenuity and practicality is paving the way for improving recycling at council retirement villages, and possibly in the hospitality industry too.

It has also earned attention and $20,000 of grant funding from glass industry organisation the Glass Packaging Forum.

The issue facing many retirement village residents, as well as those in the hospitality industry, is the need for compact, easy to move and easy to use glass recycling bins. Bin Hire Managing Director Daniel Montaperto says their tailor-made trolleys allow three existing kerbside recycling collection bins to be stacked, making them compact, easy to store, and easy to move.

The trolley design also has the potential to solve a long-running struggle in the hospitality industry to recycle its glass, says Glass Packaging Forum Scheme Manager Dominic Salmon.

The Forum recently awarded $17,645 to Bin Hire to upgrade its glass storage bunkers. A further $2,000 was awarded to help promote the trolleys.

So far 54 trolleys have been rolled out at 11 villages as well as at Hygge Café in Clifton and at Unison in Napier, with more customers set to get them, Daniel says.

Hygge Café co-owner Robyn Brannigan says the trolleys had an immediate impact. “Caring for the environment is important for us, especially considering the beautiful setting we are in here right by the sea. We’ve always recycled glass but this new system makes recycling glass a lot easier,” she says.

The trolley’s design, which allows for three bins, means glass can be colour-sorted into green, clear and brown (as required for recycling into new bottles), while a purpose-built collection truck ensures the bins are checked to ensure there has been no human error.

“‘Love notes’ with ‘please put the right colour in the right container’ will be left as gentle reminders if needed. Education will be our mainstay here,” Daniel says. It’s not only the aged care sector which will benefit, he says.

“We believe that our ingenious collection system has the potential to bridge the gap between the hospitality sector and glass recycling due to its practicality.”

Dominic agrees, saying the hospitality sector has long been one which the Forum has sought solutions for. “Hospitality has unique challenges, with space constraints being possibly the biggest. The trolley designed by Bin Hire could be a solution. There is a large amount of glass in the hospitality sector which isn’t being recycled, so this is an exciting development.”

The company is planning to market the trolleys to hospitality businesses and wineries in Hawke’s Bay early next year. “There is no limit to expansion here – we would love to see these out the back of every eatery in Hawke’s Bay if not New Zealand-wide. They are simple, easy to use and cheap.”

The GPF’s grants are funded by voluntary levies paid by its members, with over $3.7 million in grants funded to date to projects which improve glass recovery and recycling in New Zealand.