8 Apr 2020

New Zealanders urged to continue recycling glass

4:20 pm on 8 April 2020

People are being urged to either stockpile or recycle their glass bottles and jars so manufacturers can continue to use products made of recycled glass.

Glass bottles ready for recycling

Photo: 123rf

The organisation responsible for delivering the used items to the manufacturer, the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF), said there is mixed messaging around whether recycling is going ahead. They warned if people send their glass to the landfill, there could be supply chain issues.

Ultimately, this would have an effect on the essential food and beverage manufacturers.

The country's only manufacturer of glass containers, O-I New Zealand, made around 70 percent of their products using recycled glass last year.

"O-I relies on a steady supply of recycled glass for its operations," said GPF Scheme Manager, Dominic Salmon.

While some disruption to the supply chain is inevitable, he said, they are trying to keep it to a minimum. But that wasn't being helped by confused messaging.

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"In some areas recycling is being collected and sent to landfill, in others just the glass is being recycled, and in yet other areas councils are asking that recyclables go into general rubbish.

"Different councils, recycling contractors, and processors are doing different things for logistic, and health and safety reasons. Please don't assume the same thing is happening around the country - please check with your local council to see what the recycling situation is."

Recycling was deemed an essential service by central government, but the decision to collect and process recyclables is at the discretion of the different authorities.

The use of recycled glass reduces the need for virgin material, and just 1 kilogram of recycled glass replaces 1.2 kilograms of virgin materials. Emissions are also reduced, as a result of being able to run the furnaces at a lower temperature.

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