Millions of waste tyres each year are to be used to manufacture cement as part of a wider Government plan to address the environmental problems of end of life tyres, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced at the Golden Bay Cement works in Whangarei today. “New Zealand has a long-standing problem, with five million waste tyres generated each year. We have dozens of tyre stockpiles around the country posing a fire risk, leaching contaminants, providing a breeding ground for rodents and insects, and blotting the landscape. This initiative proposes controls on new stockpiles, establishes a nationwide collection and shredding operation…
A proposed National Environmental Standard for Marine Aquaculture to make re-consenting existing marine farms more consistent and efficient has been released today by Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy and Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith. “The aquaculture industry is an important part of New Zealand’s diversified primary industry, earning $500 million a year and employing over 3000 people. This proposed National Environmental Standard for Marine Aquaculture is needed to increase certainty and industry confidence, improve biosecurity management and reduce compliance costs,” Mr Guy says. “The problem this new environmental standard addresses is the bow wave of 750 nationwide marine farms, or…
A consortium of groups across a variety of sectors has created an alternative plan to get New Zealand's rivers back up to scratch after what they say is lack of urgency on the issue by the Government. The Freshwater Rescue Plan was launched in Wellington on Thursday and is aimed at countering the Government's Clean Water Package which aimed to have 90 percent of the country's rivers and lakes swimmable by 2040. Continue to full article on Newshub   |  June 8,  2017   |||
Emirates has celebrated World Environment Day by showcasing an environmentally friendly aircraft cleaning technique that has enabled the airline to save millions of litres of water every year. Emirates uses the ‘aircraft drywash’ technique to clean its aircraft. As indicated by the name, little or no water is involved in cleaning the aircraft, which is in contrast to conventional methods of aircraft cleaning which typically use thousands of litres of water per wash. During the course of every flight, an aircraft accumulates dust and grime on its external surface. In addition to making the aircraft look dirty and less appealing,…
Thursday, 01 June 2017 08:44

Three million paint containers recycled

Resene has recycled over three million paint containers and found innovative uses for leftover paint, with its PaintWise scheme, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today at Resene’s factory in Lower Hutt. “Often consumers buy more paint than they need for a project and the leftover paint is stored in sheds and cupboards, or is taken to the local landfill for disposal. Resene PaintWise provides New Zealanders with an environmentally responsible way of disposing of their waste paint,” Mr Simpson says. Resene PaintWise accepts all brands of paint and paint containers and finds alternative uses for them. These include recycling…
Thursday, 01 June 2017 08:02

Algae harvested and made into shoes

After a massive explosion of algae growth in China’s Lake Taihu a decade ago left more than two million people in the area temporarily without safe drinking water, the government started spending hundreds of millions of dollars a year to try to solve the algae problem. One part of the solution: working with a company that harvests algae from the lake before it grows out of control, and turns it into a flexible, rubbery material that is now being made into shoes. Vivobarefoot’s water-resistant Ultra III shoes are usually made from a petroleum-based version of the same material, ethylene-vinyl acetate…
Friday, 12 May 2017 07:28

Clean Water reports released

Two reports released today by NIWA and the Ministry for the Environment on the technical background to the Clean Water proposals will help inform input into the plans to clean up New Zealand waterways, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says. “The Clean Water plan is very ambitious in nationally grading our rivers and lakes for water quality for recreation and requiring 90 per cent to be swimmable by 2040. This has never been done before in New Zealand or overseas, but it is an important step in addressing our water quality issues. “The grading system has generated significant debate and…
Dutch inventor of self-healing concrete named finalist for European Inventor Award Hendrik Jonkers' bio-concrete takes inspiration from nature Concrete automatically seals cracks caused by tension Ground-breaking approach: healing bacteria survive up to 200 years in concrete and self-activate when damage occurs EPO President Benoît Battistelli: "Forward-looking innovation that opens up completely new perspectives for concrete production" Munich/Delft, 21 April 2015 - Buildings and structures made of concrete that can "magically" seal and fully repair cracks caused by tension? What may have seemed a utopian scenario just a few years ago will soon become reality, thanks to the invention of microbiologist…
Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett and Finance Minister Steven Joyce have asked the Productivity Commission to review how New Zealand can maximise the opportunities and minimise the costs and risks of transitioning to a lower carbon economy. “This next step in our climate change work programme will enable us to properly assess the economic trade-offs that we’ll need to make to meet our ambitious 2030 Paris Agreement target,” says Mrs Bennett. “In the long-term – 2030 and beyond – New Zealand will likely need to further reduce its domestic emissions in addition to the use of forestry offsets and international…
Thursday, 27 April 2017 15:08

Fresh water environment report welcomed

The Our Fresh Water 2017 report released today confirms the direction of the Government’s reforms for improving the management of fresh water, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says. “This is the first comprehensive and independent report on the state of New Zealand’s fresh water and arises from the Government’s Environmental Reporting Act that came into effect last year. The issues identified in respect of nutrients, E. coli, sediment and fresh water ecology are not new and are being addressed as part of the Government’s fresh water improvement programme. The value of the report is in providing a robust, independent baseline…
The Prime Minister's chief scientist, Sir Peter Gluckman, has highlighted harsh realities about the state of New Zealand's fresh water in a new report released today. The report urges politicians to address freshwater issues, which he says are clearly linked to intensive farming and urbanisation. It found clear evidence the freshwater estate was under pressure in terms of both water quality and quantity. There was a link between farming and declining water quality in pastoral areas, and contamination of urban waterways by expanding cities. Professor Sir Peter Gluckman says farming intensification has contributed to water quality issues. You can read…
/INS. Walki has developed a new fibre-based soil mulching solution that is completely biodegradable. This organic mulch type, which is used for weed control and to optimise soil conditions and crop yield, is the first of its kind on the market. Walki, a leading global producer of technical laminates and protective packaging materials, has developed the first-ever organic mulching solution that is based on natural biodegradable fibres instead of plastic. Mulch is a layer of material applied to the surface of an area of soil. It is designed to conserve moisture, improve the fertility and health of the soil and…
Water may cover the majority of the planet's surface, but thanks to a huge helping of salt, it's hard to tap into as a source of drinking water. Once again, graphene could come to the rescue. Researchers at the University of Manchester have developed a graphene-oxide membrane with a scalable, uniform pore size that can filter out even the smallest salts, without affecting the flow of water too much. Desalination plants already use a variety of techniques to produce safe drinking water, including shocking the salt and water into separating, using salt-attracting membranes, or harnessing the power of ocean waves…
Tuesday, 21 March 2017 09:35

OECD environment report welcomed

The Government has welcomed today’s release of the OECD 2017 Environment Performance Review, saying it highlights New Zealand’s green credentials and the strong progress we have made over the past decade, as well as the challenges we need to address, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says. “This report highlights that New Zealand fares well in terms on environmental quality of life. We have good air quality, an exceptionally high proportion of renewable electricity, easy access to pristine wilderness and an advanced and comprehensive natural resource management system,” Dr Smith says. “This report shows how far we have come over the…
Tuesday, 21 March 2017 05:15

OECD: NZ must tackle cow emissions

The first comprehensive OECD report on New Zealand’s environment in a decade calls for action on cows’ greenhouse gases and water pollution, better public transport and warmer housing, including cosier new-builds. It lands on the same day as another report outlining ways to cut emissions – by reducing cow numbers, reports Eloise Gibson. It’s all about cows, although our cars and cities could also use a tidy-up, the OECD has concluded. In their first comprehensive report on New Zealand’s environment in a decade, the OECD’s environmental review team called for agriculture to be brought into the Emissions Trading Scheme and…
Kids in river4Local Government New Zealand has launched a new piece of work to create a comprehensive framework that brings freshwater issues and water infrastructure into a coherent policy. Local government is at the heart of water issues in New Zealand, from the provision of drinking water and storm and waste water services to implementing standards for freshwater quality. LGNZ President Lawrence Yule says “Water 2050” will develop a framework for water that coherently integrates freshwater quality and quantity, standards, rights and allocation, land use, three waters infrastructure, cost and affordability, and funding while recognising that the allocation of iwi…
I’ve been investigating the potential impact of technological change on building and construction in New Zealand over the next 15 years. It’s made me think, in particular, about how technology in buildings can help us reach our lower carbon targets – just what my colleague Nick Collins was talking about in February’s blog. Technology is at the forefront of improving building performance, particularly in leveraging the potential of increasingly ‘smart’ or ‘intelligent’ sensors, systems and analysis to provide data which can improve building operation. This often refers to commercial buildings with building managers, but technology has the capacity to help…
The government’s Resource Legislation Amendment Bill (RLA) threatens changes to environmental legislation. The manipulations by Nick Smith pave the way for destruction of New Zealand’s economic advantage and further loss of valuable habitat. The RLA Bill’s aims are ambiguous but fundamentally change the ground rules to leave councils subject to Ministerial interference. The democratic process of consultation and civil society engagement will become vulnerable to the whim of the Minister. There was no cross party support for the Bill. Recently the Maori Party changed its position, but is now reconsidering it's backing. The threat to New Zealand's environmental legislation is…
Other countries that are not even “clean-green” have dealt with the tyre problem  Governmental public hand-wringing over the rural mountains of old tyres must be tempered with the understanding that central and local government was quite literally upto its neck in creating the detritus, noted the nation’s foremost developer of tyre remediation machinery. Ken Evans (pictured) of Tekam Closed Loop is responsible for the New Zealand’s first all-size tyre granulator which converts discarded tyres into a variety of paving products. Neither central nor local government encouraged the use of these granulated paving products and in some cases even discriminated against…
Development of national regulations for the storage of end-of-life tyres, and the finding of alternative end uses, cannot come soon enough, says Waikato Regional Council. The need for these initiatives is being highlighted by a large site near Otorohanga now not able to take any more used tyres, said investigation and incident response manager Patrick Lynch. “Council monitoring of a large storage site near Otorohanga has recently determined that no more tyres can be placed there until the site can properly manage their environmental risks. The operator there has received a formal notice to that effect.” Due to a lack…
Tuesday, 28 February 2017 07:42

Major new litter initiative announced

A major new campaign to stop people littering aims to change behaviour and to educate people, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith and Parliamentary Private Secretary Scott Simpson announced today at National’s Bluegreen Forum in Auckland. “Litter is a risk to New Zealand’s clean green brand and the best solution is where everyone responsibly disposes of their waste. That is why the Government is investing $3 million in a behavioural change campaign, the development of education materials and a national litter survey to help ensure we keep New Zealand beautiful.” “The environmental harm from litter is not just the aesthetics but…
Will alert environmentalists, Greens, to renewable value , emissions reduction, organics Napier advanced agri process technology specialist TEKAM is bringing to New Zealand Peter Franke  a world leader in turning agricultural waste into electricity and in the process ridding farms of the effluent which increasingly threatens drinking water. Mr Franke is the founder of Germany’s Bio Ost which is a leading developer of closed loop systems which collect effluent, notably the dairy version, and convert it into energy for refrigeration and other milking systems, and also for distribution into the national grid. These closed loop effluent-to-power systems are commonplace in…
Friday, 24 February 2017 10:43

Farmers ready for freshwater challenge

New freshwater reforms will result in 56,000 km more fences protecting New Zealand waterways from stock – enough to go round the world one and a half times, says Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy. The new rules on stock exclusion are part of the Government’s plans announced today setting a target for 90% of rivers and lakes to be swimmable by 2040. “Farmers have made huge progress in recent years to improve their environmental practices and this will be another important step forward. Dairy farmers have already voluntarily fenced off over 24,000km of waterways,” says Mr Guy. “We know that…
Wednesday, 15 February 2017 10:24

Carbon emitters on way to paying full costs

Emitters are now on their way to paying the full cost of their carbon emissions in New Zealand, says Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett. “As part of our ongoing work programme to reduce domestic emissions we have started the three-year phase out of the one-for-two emissions trading scheme subsidy,” says Mrs Bennett. “This subsidy allowed some businesses to pay one emissions unit for every two tonnes of pollution they emit. Last year the Government announced we are phasing the measure out over three years to give businesses time to plan and adjust.” The initial 50 per cent unit cost increased…
Tuesday, 17 January 2017 08:08

Ban on plastic microbeads proposed

The Government is proposing to ban personal care products containing plastic microbeads, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith announced today. “We are proposing a ban on the sale and manufacture of personal care products in New Zealand containing microbeads because of the long-term risk they pose to our aquatic and marine environments,” Dr Smith said. “The problem with plastic microbeads is that they are too small to retrieve or recycle, they do not biodegrade, and that they are mistaken by marine life as food causing long-term damage to aquatic animals like fish and mussels. The use of plastic microbeads in personal…
Japan has been notable for its avant-gardism, its leadership, and its competitiveness in the area of green technology and clean energy, considerably in terms of its investment in research and development for Smart and Renewable Energy efficiency technologies. In addition, Japan also tends to be the world’s second-largest investor in renewable energy, reaching a threshold of 23 GW of installed renewable energy sources (including 9 GW of hydro power and 5.6 GW of solar power). World Smart Energy Week 2017, is organized by Reed Exhibitions Japan bringing 1,570 exhibitors including 9 renewable energy shows- FC EXPO 2017 -13th Hydrogen &…
Kopupaka Reserve in Auckland, New Zealand designed by Isthmus has been named World Landscape of the Year 2016 at the World Architecture Festival this year. The project is a hybrid park, where a storm water reserve has been combined with an urban park, playground and skate park, all made possible by dovetailing the masterplanning of the streets with the green infrastructure of the 22-hectare reserve. Judges praised the project as ”a successful translation of Maori traditions that succeeded in being both poetic and imaginative in its creation of a landscape that captures the soul and nature of the area.” ”Inspired…
Thursday, 01 December 2016 07:28

New timber sourcing platform launched

A new trading platform to assist buyers of timber in sourcing legal or certified products from all over the world has been launched. BVRio Environmental Exchange has launched today the Responsible Timber Exchange to facilitate the screening of timber products and their supply chains. The index, which features a due diligence system, aims to facilitate the procurement of responsible timber products and increase liquidity, supply and demand for this market segment while promoting transparency, legality and sustainability. The platform will also feature optional services such as grading and quality control, field audits and due diligence, receivables finance, insurance and logistics.…
After a career in the energy sector and nearly 10 years leading the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority, you'd think I'd be able to fix a few things before retiring. Unfortunately, there's still the small matter of international climate change - the most important energy-related issue facing us today. In fact, the symptoms have become steadily worse with 2016 set to be the hottest year on record. Around the world a concerted and serious effort is needed to tackle climate change and New Zealand has a role to play. I am excited about the opportunities in front of us. For…