New Zealand's newest resource recovery park is ramping up efforts to improve sustainability in the Far North, with help from the Glass Packaging Forum.
The Kerikeri Re:Sort Resource Recovery Park, built and operated by Northland Waste, which opened late last year, had already proved so popular its container glass recycling storage had had to be increased, Northland Waste manager Andrew Sclater said, the volume of glass being recycled increasing significantly in the months following the opening.
A grant of just over $23,000 from the forum had enabled the company to replace the portable skip bins initially used for glass storage with dedicated concrete bunkers, increasing capacity from approximately 5.5 tonnes to 49 tonnes, meaning not only that more glass could be recycled, but making transport more efficient.
Recycled glass is sent to the country's only glass bottle and jar manufacturer, O-I NZ, in Auckland.
Glass Packaging Forum scheme manager Dominic Salmon said funds for grants was generated by levies paid by around 100 voluntary member brands, who operated New Zealand's only product stewardship programme for container glass. To date the forum had granted more than $3.4 million.
"Re:Sort was designed around recovery and diverting waste away from landfill," Mr Sclater said. It also means residents of the Far North's largest town no longer needed to compete the 50-minute round trip to the rural facility at Whitehills.
Mr Salmon said glass going to landfill was a huge waste of valuable resources, as it could be recycled infinitely. It was also one of the most sustainable packaging materials.
Using recycled glass to make new glass bottles and jars reduced the need for "virgin" material, and allowed furnaces to run at a lower temperature, producing fewer emissions. According to the latest information from O-I, every 10 per cent of recycled glass content reduced emissions by 5 per cent, and generated energy savings of about 3 per cent.
"A great little statistic we'd love people to keep in mind when doing their recycling is that the energy saved by recycling a single bottle could light a 15-watt low-energy light bulb for 24 hours," he added.