Tararua’s glass headed for recycling, not landfill

New glass recycling bins at Norsewood, made possible thanks to a grant from the Glass Packaging Forum. Photo: Tararua District Council

Hundreds of tons of glass from the Tararua District are set to go for recycling each year, rather than end up in landfill as the council overhauls its glass recycling collection system.

The work has been assisted by a grant of just over $13,800 from the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF). Each year this will see upwards of 650 tonnes of glass going for recycling at New Zealand’s only glass bottle and jar manufacturer O-I NZ, in Auckland.

According to the council’s Plant and Property Group Contracts Supervisor Pete Sinclair the overhaul has seen the purchase and conversion of nine shipping containers for the public to put their glass bottles and jars (container glass) into at the recycling drop-off sites in the district. “Each container will have three separated compartments for the public to colour sort their container glass into,” Pete says.

Nine smaller collection bins have also been bought for two of the sites – Norsewood and Ormondville – which cannot accommodate shipping containers. Three bins are in place at Norsewood with the remaining bins to be installed soon, he says.

Tararua residents wanting to recycle their container glass have to take it to one of the 10 recycling drop-off sites scattered around the region, Pete says.

Previously collected container glass was used as daily cover – to prevent rubbish blowing away – at the Eketahuna Landfill, he says. However, with the consent for the landfill having ended on 30 June, and with the council identifying container glass as something for improvement within its waste management and minimisation plan (WMMP), they decided to take action.

In addition to the Forum’s grant the council has also invested more than $78,000 in the project.
“One huge environmental advantage for this project is that it will divert upward of 650 tonnes of glass away from landfill allowing it to be recycled back into usable glass containers. Council has already received some positive public feedback in regard to the district moving to glass recycling,” Pete says.

Forum scheme manager Dominic Salmon says the Forum uses levies paid by members to fund projects that ensure glass bottles and jars go back to the furnace. “It’s great to see the Tararua District Council taking the initiative and investing in this work to divert hundreds of tonnes of glass from landfill for recycling,” he says.

Container glass is infinitely recyclable and using recycled glass in the production of new bottles and jars requires less virgin material and produces fewer emissions, Dominic says.