Recycling our glass – at last


Clean glass separated into the new bins will be sent to a bottle manufacturer in Auckland for recycling, Queenstown’s council has confirmed this week.

Mountain Scene revealed back in 2016 that all glass diligently placed into mixed recycling bins by residents was actually being sent to the Victoria Flats landfill in Gibbston.

Some 36 tonnes of glass from residential properties is sent to landfill each week – about 1870 tonnes a year. That figure doubles when commercial waste from businesses, which is collected privately, is taken into account.

Three years down the track, new waste contracts have been signed with Waste Management New Zealand Ltd, in conjunction with Wanaka’s Waste Busters.

They’ll also be managing the Queenstown Materials Recovery Facility, in Frankton, together with the refuse transfer stations in Queenstown and Wanaka.

Before 2016, Queenstown’s glass was ‘recycled’, but into roading aggregate.

Now, it will be properly recycled. It will be turned back into glass bottles and jars at Auckland’s O-I NZ, which is New Zealand’s only glass bottle and jar manufacturer.

Each household now has three bins – a 140-litre bin for glass recycling, a larger 240l bin for mixed recyclables and a 140l bin for waste to landfill. Collections begin July 1.

About 54,000 new bins are being delivered to homes across the district.

Council contract manager Laura Gledhill says: “Separated, clean glass will be transported to Auckland for processing into new glass products, such as bottles and jars, creating a circular economy in New Zealand for the glass that is collected in Queenstown.

“For this to work, it’s important that the new glass recycling wheelie bins must only have glass in them – bottles and jars only, with no lids.

“No other types of glass (for example, window panes) can go into those bins and there should definitely be no other materials such as general waste or plastic recyclables.”

Recyclable materials that are placed into the yellow bins will be taken to the existing materials recovery facility in Glenda Drive, Frankton, where they will be sorted and processed.

Processed materials will then be sold to New Zealand or overseas customers for re-processing into new prod-ucts.

Ensuring minimum or zero contamination is essential to the whole endeavour.

“We’re asking the community to take extra care to not contaminate the material in the yellow bins with general waste (for example, foodwaste) or any non-approved materials.”