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New Zealand Packaging Accord 2004

3 February 2005

Statement from the New Zealand Packaging Accord 2004

Packaging Accord working on glass recycling solutions

Members of the New Zealand Packaging Accord have met to discuss ways to tackle the issues currently facing glass packaging collected for recycling. The meeting follows ACI Glass’ decision, announced late last year, to reduce its price for used glass packaging.

Tony Nowell, Packaging Accord Governing Board Chair, Food and Grocery Council Chair and Griffins Managing Director, said that Accord members were acutely aware of the potential implications on glass recycling in New Zealand. All have agreed that a solution should be developed without delay.

“The group are looking into a number of options, including a proposal for key players who understand the important role the recycling system plays, to voluntarily take responsibility to ensure glass can continue to be recycled in the short term,” Mr Nowell said.

At the meeting were brand owners and retailers, importers of glass, ACI Glass, the recycling industry, and local and central government. “ACI Glass is this country’s biggest manufacturer and recycler of glass. We are sympathetic to their situation including the strengthening New Zealand dollar and the changing market circumstances that have made the reduction in price of recovered glass necessary. Even so, we are confident a solution exists to avoid impacting on the viability of kerbside recycling,” Mr Nowell said.

The group will meet again soon to discuss the options in more detail and determine the way forward. They will then put their proposal to the Packaging Accord Governing Board in late February. An announcement will follow soon after.

The Packaging Accord Governing Board expects to undertake a more in-depth analysis this year to ensure ongoing recovery and recycling of glass for the long term.

“The glass industry reaffirms its commitment to the Accord and the recovery target of 55% by 2008 showing that working together under the Packaging Accord is the best way to deal with the current challenges,” Mr Nowell said.

The Packaging Accord is a voluntary industry agreement to reduce and reuse packaging. Accord targets include recovering a proportion of the main packaging materials.

For further information please contact the New Zealand Packaging Accord Secretariat – pac.nz@packaging.org.nz.

Background information

ACI Glass provide 99 per cent of the market for New Zealand’s used glass packaging. From 1 January 2005 ACI Glass reduced the price it pays for recovered glass per tonne, with a further price reduction for clear flint glass scheduled in May 2005.

The strength of the New Zealand dollar has meant large volumes of glass products have been imported. Much of this is clear flint glass that is less suitable to recycle at ACI. Based on 2003 figures around 36 per cent of glass packaging used in this country is imported.

In 2003 New Zealand recycled 48 per cent (around 80,000 tonnes) of glass. An estimated 90,000 tonnes of glass was recovered in 2004, and some recovered glass was exported, as this tonnage was more than the capacity of the ACI plant. Higher volumes are expected as New Zealanders get better at recycling.

With increasing amounts of glass (particularly imported clear ‘flint’ glass) being collected, ACI Glass has reached capacity for recycling at its Auckland facility. The possible construction of a third furnace in 2007 may help to alleviate this situation.

There are a number of alternatives to recycling used glass packaging. These include reusing bottles, manufacturing glass tiles, bricks and surfacing, use in roading and cement, and use as a sand substitute (eg, for sand blasting).

Presently, some South Island councils are stockpiling the glass they collect from their kerbside recycling collections in anticipation of future markets for this glass. This has been driven by costs associated with transporting glass to Auckland for recycling. The present glass situation and its resolution under the Packaging Accord is an opportunity to see how markets for this stockpiled material can be developed.

The Packaging Accord was launched in August last year to reduce waste and increase the amount of packaging that can be recycled. Accord members have agreed to consider the full lifecycle of packaging – from initial need and design to what happens when the packaging is no longer needed by the consumer.

Packaging Accord members include: organisations from key packaging sectors involved in steel, paper, plastics, aluminium and glass, as well as brand owners and retailers; Packaging Council of New Zealand, Recycling Operators New Zealand, Local Government New Zealand and the Ministry for the Environment.

ENDS


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