A Government grant has accelerated the growth of a family-owned Mount Maunganui recycling business by two years.
On Saturday, Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage visited Tauranga to announce Goodwood Ltd would receive a $660,000 grant from the Government's Waste Minimisation Fund.
The business, started by father and son Bill and Richard Hutchinson, turns untreated timber from pallets, kiwifruit bins and sawmill offcuts into useful products.
These include garden mulch, animal bedding and surfacing for playgrounds.
General manager Pieter Baars told the Bay of Plenty Times the business opened in 2015 on land leased from Tauranga City Council at the Te Maunga transfer station.
Since then, it had recycled about 30,000 tonnes of wood that would otherwise have gone to landfill or been burned.
He said the new funding would allow the business to grow its annual capacity by at least 50 per cent, from 8000 tonnes to about 12,000 tonnes. He said that was a conservative estimate, and a rise to 16,000-18,000 tonnes was feasible.
The funding had helped the business buy a new truck for collections and 10 open-top containers for businesses to use to stockpile their wood waste.
It had also allowed the purchase of a 14-tonne excavator and 17-tonne wheeled loader for use in Goodwood's new Hamilton branch.
The purchases would enable the business to operate more efficiently and pick up new contracts in both the Bay of Plenty and Waikato.
Baars said without the funding, it would have taken two years to reach this stage of growth.
One new employee would be hired in Tauranga, bringing the total team to nine.
Braas said one of the overarching goals of the business was to process 1 million tonnes of recycled materials before 2029.
He said they were also interested in the growing wood energy market, with wood biomass burners replacing coal burners in large factories and facilities such as hospitals.
Goodwood also hoped to branch into other waste streams, including recycling treated wood and waste from the construction industry such as concrete.
The business had largely been able to keep operating through the lockdown, collecting from essential businesses and producing mainly animal bedding for dairy farms, as part of the chain of food production.
Sage said Goodwood was a great example of a circular economy in action, producing high-quality products from off-cuts and waste that would otherwise go to landfill.
She said the Government was committed to improving New Zealand's "rubbish record on waste to landfill" by reducing the amount of waste going to landfills and to increasing material recovery and recycling.
"Businesses, industry, families and communities all have a role to play in reducing our waste in Aotearoa New Zealand.
"This wood waste recovery project has been trialled and proven it can succeed in the Bay of Plenty, it would be great to see similar operations elsewhere."
Tauranga councillor Heidi Hughes attended the announcement.
"It's great to see an innovative, forward-thinking business get some funding. The circular economy work they do saves money."
She said the council was taking a strategic look at the Te Maunga facility. It was interested in finding ways to support other businesses that could divert waste from landfill and save the city money.
Hughes said the council had also applied for funding for a community upcycling centre for the transfer station.