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No threat to Auckland city’s glass collections

26 April 2005

No threat to Auckland city’s glass collections

Glass collection services will continue in Auckland city, despite nationwide fears of mountains of glass awaiting recycling.

The price for recyclable glass is dropping and Auckland City is subsidising its glass collection contractor in order to maintain its blue bin collection service.

“It’s business as usual for us,” says Warwick Jaine, resource recovery manager. “The price has dropped but it’s still worth something and people should have confidence that the glass will continue to be collected and recycled. The city is not stockpiling it nor sending it to the landfill.”

More than 230 tonnes of glass a week are collected from Auckland city blue bins. New Zealand’s good record in recycling means the country’s sole recycling plant, ACI Glass Packaging New Zealand, in Auckland, currently has access to more than enough. This is compounded by glass imports, which make up over 36 per cent of glass consumed in New Zealand – much of it less suitable for recycling – and glass importers are being lobbied to take more responsibility for it once it has been used.

Mr Jaine says that while the city’s glass collection contractor gets the revenue for glass from ACI, ratepayers receive a direct benefit through a reduced price for the recovery service.

“To maintain this service we have agreed to an interim arrangement with the contractor to partly subsidise the loss in revenue.

“If the losses continue over a one year period it will cost each ratepayer around $2 a year, or 5c a week.”

Members of the New Zealand Packaging Accord, a voluntary industry agreement to reduce and reuse packaging, are working on a solution. ACI and the major glass importers have been meeting to discuss options and a response is expected in May.

Government has threatened to introduce legislation requiring packaging producers and importers to take responsibility for their packaging at the end of its life cycle if sustainable solutions are not found.

Councillor Neil Abel, chairperson of the council’s Works and Services Committee, said it was time for some innovative use of recyclable glass that was surplus to requirements. “There are opportunities such as crushing it for use as road aggregate or for use in ceramic tiles.

“It’s situations like this which cry out for innovative answers,” he added.

ENDS

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