New Materials Recovery facility offers local sustainability solutions

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Published: 09 Aug 2022

South Canterbury’s waste minimisation and recycling efforts have received a major boost with the commissioning of a new $3.8 million materials recovery facility (MRF) in Timaru.

The new MRF is operated by EnviroWaste, part of the EnviroNZ group, and is the region’s biggest resource recovery hub. It takes kerbside mixed recycling from Timaru, Waimate, Mackenzie, Ashburton and Central Otago district councils, as well as commercial businesses’ recycling. Sorting mixed plastics, aluminium and steel paper and cardboard, it has the capacity to process five tonnes of material per hour.

“We’re a nation of committed recyclers – just look up and down your street on collection day,” says EnviroNZ CEO Chris Aughton.

“With the increasing focus on how we can reduce the waste we create and keep products and materials in use, this act of everyday environmentalism is supporting New Zealand’s sustainability shift,” he says.

Household and commercial recycling requires sorting on a large scale, explains Aughton. “Our new materials recovery facility is a piece of critical regional infrastructure that expands local recycling capabilities and supports community sustainability solutions. It keeps valuable resources in circulation and reduces the amount of waste that ends up in landfill.

“By working in close partnership with local councils, together we’re able to deliver improved outcomes for the community and the environment,” he says.

The opening of the next generation MRF is an important milestone for Timaru and the wider region, says Mayor Nigel Bowen.

“Timaru District was ahead of the curve when it adopted its three bin system more than 15 years ago. Like nearly every sector technology has evolved and improved, so it’s great that the new contract with EnviroWaste has enabled us to build a new state of the art MRF to ensure we can continue to be sector leaders in recycling.”

“This time round it’s not just Timaru District that benefits from this new facility. Through our collaboration with Waimate and Mackenzie, and now with Ashburton and Central Otago also using it, we can be a regional centre of excellence in waste management,” he says.

Once sorted and separated, recyclables are sent to local and international markets so they can have a second life.

“There’s a growing number of products being made with recycled content right here in New Zealand,” says Aughton. “Plastics from your recycling bin are transformed into new products that are used by the likes of food producers, farmers and the building industry, while glass bottles and jars are melted down to make new glass containers. Households are a vital link in New Zealand’s shift towards a circular economy.”

Last updated: 09 Aug 2022