Call for action on glass waste report says industry accord not working

Glass waste may find itself a home in southern roads but ultimately the glass waste problem can only be solved by glass users and brand owners, according to an Envision New Zealand report. The Otago R…

Glass waste may find itself a home in southern roads but ultimately the glass waste problem can only be solved by glass users and brand owners, according to an Envision New Zealand report. The Otago Regional Council and Otago community recyclers held a series of meetings in Otago in October about the growth of mountains of glass. These meetings were run by Envision New Zealand and director Warren Snow presented his report and recommendations at a meeting in Dunedin 16 December. Snow said sending glass to landfills in Otago could cost up to USD 564,000 annually but this was reduced by USD 158,400 from the glass sent to recyclers. It was no longer economic to send it to Auckland, where glass was recycled into containers at the only New Zealand factory. Crushed glass could be used as a replacement aggregate in construction and roading. Transit New Zealand had yet to give approval for any glass roading aggregate. Envision New Zealand Ltd representative Julie Dickinson said Fulton Hogan had expressed an interest in conducting trials so glass aggregate could be used on roads. A trial of such aggregate was planned at the beginning of 2006. The company was seeking financial partners to extend glass crushing across the South Island. Snow suggested a meeting to involve all parties in February-March to send a message that the industry-led approach to glass was not working. He said the packaging accord, which comprised representatives from the packaging industry, central government and local government, was not working. The accord“s objective was to work towards less waste and producers taking responsibility for product stewardship over the full life of the package. Targets had been set but they were low and the industry had become complacent. “The packaging accord is run by the very people who create the problem,” Snow said. “To hear nothing from the people involved in the accord during the phasing out of milk bottles was disappointing,” he added. The report“s primary conclusion was that the only long-term sustainable solution to the problem of discarded glass in Otago was to put the responsibility squarely on glass users and brand owners.