Recycling of earthquake waste to be maximised

  • Gerry Brownlee
  • Nick Smith
Environment Earthquake Recovery

The Government is working with councils and industry to maximise the recycling of the estimated 4.5 million tonnes of demolition and liquefaction waste from the Canterbury earthquakes, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee and Environment Minister Nick Smith announced today.

“$2.5 million is being provided from the Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund to fund sorting machinery that will separate the waste into 10 different products for reuse. This is the largest ever grant from the fund reflecting the scale of the Canterbury earthquakes’ waste problem,” Dr Smith said.

“There is the potential to recover up to 1 million tonnes of aggregate, concrete, timber, metal, plaster board and plastics from this initiative. Our objective is to recover as much as is practical without excessively adding to the costs of the earthquake recovery,” Dr Smith said.

“It will not be possible or economic to recycle all of the earthquake waste. The Government is also using its special powers to allow use of the old Burwood landfill for disposal of inert waste. Any contaminated waste will need to be disposed of at the Kate Valley landfill,” Mr Brownlee said.

Environment Canterbury and the Christchurch City Council will be consulting with affected parties on the condition and detail of the consents for the extension of the old Burwood Landfill.

The substantial environmental impacts of re-transporting material in terms of truck movements and greenhouse gas emissions makes it more sensible to permanently and safely dispose of it on-site.

“This huge waste management project at Burwood is a joint venture between Christchurch City, Waimakariri, Ashburton, Hurunui and Selwyn councils, as well as Transpacific Industries Group Limited. This joint venture is subject to resource consent and due diligence. This would provide a sensible public-private partnership for undertaking this difficult waste challenge,” the Ministers said.