Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search


COVID-19 pandemic exposes flaw in recycling system

Christchurch City Council’s decision to ask residents not to stockpile recyclables and send it to landfill is a result of the wasteful collection method used, says the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF).

The GPF, which runs the country’s only glass bottle and jar product stewardship scheme, was reacting to the council’s announcement yesterday (16 April) that residents should not stockpile their recyclables until recycling could resume. According to the council this was because recycling machinery and kerbside collection wouldn’t be able to cope with the increased volume when normal service resumed.

GPF Scheme Manager Dominic Salmon says while he sympathises with the council’s current situation, it shows a clear flaw in the comingled collection system used in the region. Comingling sees all recyclables collected together in one wheelie bin – rather than the best practice of separating recyclables – which leads to more contamination and higher sorting costs. This in turn makes recycling less economically viable, he says.

“Christchurch’s glass goes into roading rather than being recycled into new bottles, and while this is obviously not the best outcome it’s better than sending this valuable resource to landfill. Glass doesn’t break down in landfill.”

Christchurch and Banks Peninsula recycling has been sent to landfill since the beginning of April due to the temporary closure of the materials recovery centre run by council-run EcoCentral. The Ministry for the Environment had declared recycling an essential service during the COVID-19 lockdown, but left the decision to operate to councils and contractors.

Dominic says other councils are working with their contractors on solutions to ensure the safe recovery of glass during all COVID-19 alert levels. “I urge Christchurch City Council to do the same, and in the long term to explore options for moving away from comingled collections, which will make recycling the glass viable.”

Adele Rose, Chief Executive at 3R Group which specialises in product stewardship and manages the GPF, says the indication from Government is a strong focus on the domestic economy following the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This provides both local government and business with an opportunity to become more self-reliant, resilient, and to work on developing circular economy solutions. Recycled glass is an excellent example of the circular economy in action as it’s infinitely recyclable in New Zealand.”

Christchurch is home to the South Island’s main glass aggregation hub – at 5R Solutions. This makes it more viable to freight recycled glass in bulk to the country’s only glass bottle manufacturer O-I New Zealand, in Auckland, Dominic says.

“The solution is available to maximise the amount of glass being recycled, we just need to improve the collection method,” he says.

Using recycled glass to make new glass bottles and jars reduces the need for virgin material – in fact, 1kg of recycled glass replaces 1.2kg of virgin materials. It also means the furnaces can run at a lower temperature so there are less emissions, Dominic says. According to the latest information from O-I NZ, every 10 percent of recycled glass content reduces emissions by 5 percent and generates energy savings of approximately 3 percent.

“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,” Dominic says.

© Scoop Media

Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On Not Buying What Todd Muller Is Selling

Chloe Swarbrick is number three in the Greens Party list released this morning. Todd Muller has released his new party line-up today, which will excite everyone who still wants to know what Gerry Brownlee and Judith Collins will be up to in future. Wider point being : Swarbrick is a household name after three years in Parliament, and has been steering our cannabis laws towards a national referendum at this year’s election. Todd Muller has spent twice as long in Parliament as Swarbrick and yet – until last week – no one beyond his immediate family and friends had ever heard of him... More>>


National: "Todd Muller Announces Shape Of Next Government"

National Party Leader Todd Muller has announced the line-up of the next Government. “New Zealand is facing perhaps the toughest time that almost anyone alive can remember. “We are borrowing tens of billions of dollars to get us through this crisis. There ... More>>


Lockdown Rules: Timeline For Moving To Level 1 Needed

The BusinessNZ Network is calling for more clarity about the conditions under which businesses can move to Covid level 1. The network is concerned about large numbers of businesses that are at risk of closure if restrictions continue at the current ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On National’s Day Of Reckoning

Congratulations. You are one of the 55 members of the National caucus being called together tomorrow to choose who will lead you to either (a) catastrophic or (b) honourable defeat on September 19, thereby saving some (but not all) of the jobs currently on the line. Good luck. Your decision process starts NOW... More>>


Budget 2020: Jobs Budget To Get Economy Moving Again

Investments to both save and create jobs in Budget 2020 mean unemployment can be back to pre COVID-19 levels within two years and could see the economy growing again as early as next year. More>>


Covid-19 Response: Law Setting Up Legal Framework For Covid-19 Alert Level 2 Passes

The law establishing a legal framework for the response to Covid-19 has passed its final reading and will become law in time for the move to Alert Level 2 tonight.
This is a bespoke Act designed specifically to stop the spread of COVID-19... More>>


ACT: Parliament Quits MP Cut Pay Debate To Go Home Early

“In an outrageous move, Parliament has today passed voluntary MP pay cuts and avoided any debate over whether to make them compulsory and transparent”, says ACT Leader David Seymour.... More>>


Trans-Tasman Bubble: PMs Jacinda And Morrison Announce Plans

Australia and New Zealand are committed to introducing a trans-Tasman COVID-safe travel zone as soon as it is safe to do so, Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern and Prime Minister the Hon Scott Morrison MP have announced... More>>


Government: New Zealand Joins Global Search For COVID-19 Vaccine

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters, Research, Science and Innovation Minister Megan Woods, and Health Minister David Clark today announced a COVID-19 vaccine strategy, which will enable New Zealand scientists to contribute to global research efforts ... More>>


The Dig: Steady State Economics: We’ve Got Some (systems) Thinking To Do

In this time of impending economic and ecological crises, we urgently need to aim for a sustainable or ‘steady state’ economy. In order to get there, we will need to adopt a ‘systems-thinking’ outlook taking into account the interconnections of our complex world.

In short, we’ve got some systems thinking to do... More>>


Election 2020: Parties Get Into gear

The Green Party is pleased to reveal its candidate list for the upcoming election. With a mix of familiar faces and fresh new talent, this exceptional group of candidates are ready to lead the Greens back into Government. Using the most democratic list ... More>>


Insight Into Regenerative Agriculture In New Zealand

There is a fast growing movement in New Zealand that has been happening out in paddocks, fields, gardens and hill country across the nation. It is a movement that holds the promise to reshape our productive land use industries towards systems that work with the natural environment to regenerate the land. The movement is that of regenerative agriculture. More>>


Covid-19: Tracer App Released To Support Contact Tracing

The Ministry of Health has today formally released the NZ COVID Tracer app to support contact tracing in New Zealand. Kiwis who download the app will create a digital diary of the places they visit by scanning QR codes displayed at the entrances to ... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Dodgy Politics Of Easing Level 3

As countries around the world tentatively emerge from lockdown, a lot of political noise is being generated by politically-driven arguments that (a) the safeguards need to be lifted faster and (b) the lockdown itself was an over-reaction likely to leave lasting economic damage in its wake... More>>


Govt: Concern At Introduction Of National Security Legislation For Hong Kong
Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says the New Zealand Government has reacted with concern at the introduction of legislation in China’s National People’s Congress relating to national security in Hong Kong... More>>






InfoPages News Channels