New way to recycle glass in the Garden City

EcoCentral’s glass collection trial will determine the viability, and sustainability of collecting colour-sorted glass for processing back into glass containers.

Christchurch-based EcoCentral is trialling a new way for residents of the Garden City to recycle their glass bottles and jars.

The trial, at EcoCentral’s Parkhouse transfer station, sees the glass colour-sorted and collected separately to other recyclables so it’s of high enough quality to be recycled into new containers in Auckland. Currently, glass collected through Christchurch’s co-mingled kerbside collection service is used for roading and filtration.

The Glass Packaging Forum awarded EcoCentral a $37,500 grant for the equipment used in the trial.

READ MORE: Colour-separated glass trail under way (Nor’west News – page 9)

EcoCentral Operations Manager Rob Wilson says they have partnered with fellow glass recyclers 5R Solutions on the trial. When residents drop off glass bottles and jars, they are asked to sort them by colour (clear, brown and green) into three bins. This glass can then be transported with glass from other parts of the South Island, via 5R’s Christchurch hub, to Auckland, Rob says.

“The aim of the three-month trial is to determine the viability, and sustainability of collecting colour-sorted glass for processing back into glass containers in Auckland. If the trial is successful from an operational and sustainability perspective, we’ll be expanding the service to our other two transfer stations in Christchurch,” he says.

EcoCentral’s three transfer stations collect between 360 and 600 tonnes of glass a year.

Glass Packaging Forum Scheme Manager Dominic Salmon says the same collection method is used to great effect at public drop off sites in Selwyn and Waimakariri.

“Colour sorting and collecting glass separately to other recyclables is the best practice method that is being used by the majority of councils around the country. It produces high-quality glass for recycling right here in Aotearoa New Zealand, which lowers emissions and reduces the import of raw materials,” he says.

The glass from the trial will join that from an ever-increasing number of South Island councils sending their glass to Auckland to be recycled, he says.