$1.25m boost for recycling farm plastic waste

  • Scott Simpson

The Government’s Waste Minimisation fund has granted $1.25 million to support the upgrade and recommissioning of EnviroNZ’s plastic extrusion plant in Christchurch, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.

The plant will be able to recycle over 1,000 tonnes of woven polypropylene bulk fertiliser bags into high quality pellets each year. These polypropylene pellets will then be used by New Zealand companies to make locally manufactured products such as irrigation tubing and rope.

The plant was originally acquired as part of EnviroNZ’s purchase of Christchurch-based Mastagard in 2014, but had been mothballed since 2012.

“This funding will enable EnviroNZ to carry out polypropylene recycling. The company will install additional bulk fertiliser bag processing and storage equipment, such as a shredder, wash plant, blowers and silos.

“By establishing essential infrastructure in New Zealand to recycle the used bags, EnviroNZ will help reduce the quantity of woven polypropylene bulk fertiliser bags currently being disposed of on farms.”

Fertiliser manufacturers and distributors Ballance and Ravensdown produce about 1 million single-use bulk fertiliser bags, approximately 3,000 tonnes. EnviroNZ has worked with Ballance and Ravensdown to establish a successful collection system to recover these bags from farms. Farmers are now sending on average 100 tonne of bags per month for recycling

To date the collected bags had been baled and stored, waiting to be exported offshore. Now they will be able to be processed onshore once the upgrade and re-commissioning of EnviroNZ’s plastics recycling plant is completed.

“It’s exciting to see EnviroNZ working with other New Zealand companies to recycle these bags in an environmentally safe way, and at the same time provide a primary source of material to another industry. Recycling and minimising waste is a key strategy for protecting New Zealand’s environment for future generations.”

The Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund was established in 2009 and is funded by a levy of $10 per tonne charged on waste disposed of at landfills. Over $80 million has been awarded to more than 130 projects to date.

For more information on the Waste Minimisation Fund visit http://www.mfe.govt.nz/more/funding/waste-minimisation-fund/about-waste-minimisation-fund