Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Christchurch recycling plant set for upgrade

Efforts to reduce the amount of waste going to Christchurch landfill have received a boost with news the city’s Materials Recovery Facility (MRF) will be upgraded.

EcoCentral Limited, which owns the MRF, has received a $16.8 million grant from the Ministry for the Environment’s special COVID-19 Response and Recovery Fund to help it upgrade its mechanical and optical sorting equipment for plastics and fibre (paper and cardboard).

With the upgraded equipment, EcoCentral will be able to improve the overall effectiveness of the plant and ensure that the aggregated recyclable materials it is sorting are of a very high quality, Christchurch City Council said in a statement today.

“The paper and cardboard that we process through the MRF gets sent overseas for recycling. The market for these products is extremely competitive so we need to provide a very high quality product if we are to secure a buyer,’’ says EcoCentral Chief Executive, Craig Downie.

“Upgrading the optical and mechanical fibre sorting equipment in the Materials Recovery Facility will improve our ability to sort the material collected through the yellow wheelie bins into the separate material types.

“This is key to making sure we maximise the amount of material we are recycling and minimise the amount of waste that is going to landfill.’’

Mr Downie says even with the improved plant, it will remain essential that people only put accepted items in the yellow wheelie bin, as contaminants damage equipment and can impact the quality of other recyclable materials.

The only items that belong in the yellow bin are:

* Clean, flattened cardboard and egg cartons;
* Clean aluminium cans;
* Clear and coloured glass bottles, jars (clean, with lids put in the red bin);
* Metal tins (clean and loose, with lids put in the red bin);
* Plastic containers and bottles numbered 1, 2 and 5 (clean and loose, with lids put in the red bin);
* Aerosol cans;
* Paper and magazines (no smaller than a standard envelope).

Councillor Pauline Cotter, who chairs Council’s Three Waters Infrastructure and Environment Committee, says the upgrade of the plant is a boost for the city’s waste minimisation efforts.

“We made it clear through the Waste Minimisation and Management Plan that we adopted last year that we are committed to reducing the amount of waste being sent to landfill. Investing in new technology so that we can maximise the material we recycle will help us achieve that,’’ Cr Cotter says.

Mr Downie says the upgrade of the MRF is due to start in March 2022, with the work expected to take until December 2022 to complete.

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