Auckland Council urges feasibility study for paper recycling options

7:31 pm on 4 August 2019

Auckland Council is urging the government to get started on an in depth feasibility study to find a local solution for the country's paper recycling.

Bale of compressed paper for recycling

Photo: 123RF

Council's programme director for waste solutions Parul Sood said Auckland households produced 60,000 tonnes of paper every year and that did not include commercial outlets.

She said the current recycling plants did not have the capacity to take on all the country's paper - about 485,000 tonnes per annum.

At the moment, about half is processed and recycled in New Zealand and the rest is exported to markets overseas.

But with those markets now drying up, Ms Sood said it had never been more important.

She said the council had looked into paper mills already as a possible solution but it wanted to look at all options.

"You need a big sized paper mill [to] make it really sustainable and have that product compete on the global market," she said.

"It [paper mill] may or may not be the right answer but I think that's the reason why we need to do this work so we can be 100 percent sure that whatever processing plant we put in for the country, has got a product coming out that makes sustainable sense."

Ms Sood said it was great the government announced it was looking at how to increase New Zealand's paper and plastic recycling capacity in May this year.

But she was urging them to undertake an in depth feasibility study that could be done in four months.

Associate Minister for Environment Eugenie Sage said she was looking at local solutions for recycling but a feasibility study may not be on the cards.

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