One thing New Zealand has no shortage of is small communities. The size which makes them so charming also makes recycling services challenging – but the Glass Packaging Forum (GPF) is keen to help.

Grant funding provided by the GPF has recently helped councils in the Bay of Plenty and Coromandel offer glass recycling to some of their smaller, underserved communities, with great results, says GPF scheme manager Dominic Salmon.

“At Lake Rotomā and Lake Rotoiti, glass recycling bins have been very well used over the past summer, with the Rotorua Lakes Council expecting to them to collect over 100 tonnes of colour-sorted glass over a year,” says Salmon.

The Coromandel beach town of Matarangi had a glass recycling container installed just before Christmas, thanks to a GPF grant. It collected some 4.5 tonnes of colour-sorted glass in its first month, Salmon says.

“Both projects are keeping recyclable glass from landfill, so it can make the relatively short trip to Auckland to be recycled into new bottles – the circular economy in action. These are just a couple examples of how we can help make glass recycling more accessible.”

Salmon says the introduction of standardised kerbside recycling for all urban centres (with a population of 1,000 or more), from February 1, was a great step forward for the country to improve its record on waste. Glass is one of the materials which must be collected, so the GPF is eager to work with councils and waste operators, he says.

“The same goes for those small, sometimes underserved communities. Aotearoa New Zealand has some amazing holiday spots and where we choose to relax and enjoy a cold beverage isn’t always close to a recycling option. We fully appreciate it’s difficult to reach them all, so we encourage anyone with a project which aims to do this to get in touch with us.”

The GPF has awarded over $4.1 million in grants to date, Salmon says. “Our members provide the funding through the voluntary levies and we ensure the money is well used to improve New Zealand’s glass recovery and recycling rates.”

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