Funds to tackle waste problems

A facility to recycle tyres and a project to reuse old photocopier toner are getting off the ground with support from the Waste Minimisation Fund, Associate Environment Minister Eugenie Sage said today.

“These projects take waste that would have gone to landfills and use it for something useful. They are great examples of what needs to happen more in New Zealand,” Ms Sage said.

“Significantly reducing waste going to landfill by 2020 is a goal of the Green Party’s confidence and supply agreement with Labour and is a priority for me as Associate Environment Minister.

“New Zealand needs to join countries around the world in shifting to a circular economy, where we can deconstruct all of the products we make to their component parts, and then reuse, recycle or return them to nature.”

Ms Sage is opening Waste Management NZ’s new tyre recycling facility in Auckland today. It received $3.85 million from the Fund. The Auckland facility will be able to process 15,000 tonnes of end-of-life tyres in the first 24 months and reach full capacity of 30,000 tonnes or around three million passenger tyres per annum after 36 months. This represents more than half of the approximately 5 million tyres that can no longer be used on vehicles in New Zealand each year.

“End of life tyres are a serious waste challenge and I welcome this initiative. I have also asked officials to look at the best way to develop and implement a mandatory product stewardship scheme for tyres. It’s time to plan with how to deal with old tyres before they’re even fitted on the vehicle.”

She announced $38,000 in funding for Fuji Xerox, to test the feasibility of using photocopier waste toner in the construction of roads as a substitute for bitumen. Fuji Xerox is also launching its product stewardship roadmap for New Zealand businesses today that will provide a free guide for responsible management of the environmental footprint of products throughout their lifecycle.

The roadmap was developed using insights from Fuji Xerox’s successful programme in a bid to assist other businesses to create their own product stewardship schemes.

Ms Sage also announced the reaccreditation of the Glass Packaging Forum’s product stewardship scheme, which connects businesses that sell glass-packaged consumer goods with those that collect and recycle glass.

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