Upgrade to recycling facility keeps plastics in NZ

Upgrade to recycling facility keeps plastics in NZ

Up to 35 per cent of Aucklanders’ kerbside plastics can now be recycled in NZ

Published: Monday 7 December 2020

New optical sorting equipment, installed in Auckland Council’s Visy recycling facility, will keep more plastic recycling in New Zealand instead of relying on international markets, Auckland Council announced today.

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says, “Up to 35 per cent of Aucklanders’ kerbside plastics are now forecasted to be recycled in New Zealand, helping to create a more sustainable, circular economy.

“The new optical sorters will ensure that 99 per cent of the 7700 tonnes of recyclable plastic that Visy, council’s recycling facility, processes each year can now be correctly sorted and recycled.

“As well as the environmental benefits, recycling is more cost-effective than sending material to landfill. The new equipment will also result in a higher-quality product for use in New Zealand manufacturing,” Phil Goff said.

Optical sorters work by using light and near-infrared technology to read the reflective signal from each object. Each plastic grade produces a different image or signal which identifies what it is made from. Air jets then direct that object into the correct grade stream for baling.

Councillor Richard Hills, Chair of the Environment and Climate Change Committee, says, “Building the capacity for over a third of our plastics to stay in New Zealand is a great milestone that can reduce our emissions.

"In addition to improving our recycling, we continue to encourage people to avoid single-use plastics wherever possible because it’s better for our environment to refuse and reuse rather than relying on recycling alone.

"Less plastic in our recycling means that more of it can stay within New Zealand instead of needing an overseas market.”

For more details, visit Our Auckland.