Saturday, April 20, 2024

Palmerston North adds glass to roads mix

Palmerston North City Council has joined forces with two local and family-owned companies to give waste glass a new lease on life.

Council says that since March this year, more than 5,000 cubic metres of glass waste has been saved from the brink of the landfill abyss – the equivalent of two full Olympic-sized swimming pools.

Working with local companies, Higgins Concrete and Hirock Quarries, Council will reuse the glass by crushing and using it as an aggregate in concrete, roads, and footpaths.

It’s a win-win that’s not only reducing waste but also cutting back on the carbon footprint associated with concrete production, said Council’s Group Manager of Property and Resource Recovery, Bryce Hosking.

“This collaboration with Higgins Family Holdings is a shining example of what can be achieved when public and private sectors join forces for a common cause,” said Mr Hosking.

“Our journey from stockpiled waste glass to sustainable pathways or roads is a testament to the power of innovation and partnership.”

“Over the years, Council had been wrestling with the challenge of dealing with mixed waste glass, a by-product of the glass recycling process where different colours of glass end up mixed together.

“For glass to be recycled, it needs to be sorted into its colours – green, clear and brown. While all council glass collections are sorted at the kerbside, some customers can’t sort the glass like we do. When this happens, glass is manually sorted, and waste “fines” – small, broken pieces of glass – are generated. These fines can’t be recycled, and stockpiles accumulated over several years.”

Faced with this dilemma, the Council says it was determined to find an innovative way to manage this glass waste. Enter Higgins Concrete and Hirock, a family-owned local company who provide quality concrete and services right across the country.

When asked how much glass had been collected, Hirock Transport Manager, Daniel Higgins, put it into perspective.

“Since March this year we’ve collected about 5,000 cubic metres of waste glass from the Council’s Awapuni recycle site,” he says.

“So, if you compare that to something, that amount of glass waste would fill two full Olympic sized swimming pools. Once our truck and trailer units collect the glass from Council’s Resource Recovery Park, we use a large mobile impactor crusher to grind the glass into particles down to as fine as sand. These glass products are then blended into roading aggregates, concrete and general use. As the Council roadside collects continue we will collect this material from the centre and continue the process.”

Hirock Te Matai Road Quarry Manager, Paul Tocker says their customers benefit from the carbon reduction and in meeting their environmental product declarations (EPDs).

“EPDs are the international standard for measuring carbon footprint of all concrete and construction products,” he said.

“So, we’re pleased to be passing on more environmentally friendly products to our customers, and while we’re not the first to do something of this sort, we’ve enjoyed trialling the make of different concrete products that can be used in roads, footpaths and more.”

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