The roll-out of a soft plastics recycling scheme in Nelson today means New World, Countdown and Pak’nSave supermarkets in the South Island will offer the service, Environment Minister Dr Nick Smith says.
“The Love NZ Soft Plastics Recycling Programme is the next logical step for households in reducing waste. It means people can take the likes of bread bags, shopping bags and frozen vege bags to these supermarkets for collection, re-manufacture and re-use,” Dr Smith says.
“Most households now recycle paper, cardboard, glass, metal cans and hard plastic containers, and the extra challenge with soft plastics was finding a practical way of collecting them and keeping them clean enough for re-use. The programme is already running in Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington and Canterbury and will now roll out to stores from Nelson to Invercargill.
“These additional South Island locations mean the programme reaches its goal of 70 per cent of New Zealanders having access to a drop-off facility within 20km of their home.
“A Government Waste Minimisation Fund grant of $700,930 supports this joint initiative between the retail sector, the packaging industry and the Government to enable the recycling of soft plastics.
“The soft plastic collected is turned into useful products such as benches and bollards, extending the life of this valuable resource. The programme will now be available at more than 350 stores nationwide, and includes South Island New World, Countdown and Pak’nSave supermarkets.
“This initiative builds on the work we have done with hard plastics, like the opening last month of the Flight Plastics processing facility in Lower Hutt, which received a $4 million Government grant. This facility has the capacity to turn more than 200 million plastic drink bottles a year into high grade food-safe packaging.
“The soft plastics programme is a great example of how businesses can make positive changes that enable every-day New Zealanders to divert plastic waste from ending up as litter or landfill. Its North Island roll-out will continue next year, with Rotorua, Tauranga and Palmerston North.
“The success of the programme to date clearly shows New Zealanders’ enthusiasm for reducing waste to landfill. This year more than 200 tonnes of soft plastics have already been collected for recycling.
“It is needed regardless of the debate on single use shopping bags. I welcome the announcement yesterday by Foodstuffs that they are exploring a charge on single use supermarket bags but the soft plastics problem is far larger than just the single use supermarket bags.
“This innovative and collaborative approach has proved successful in other locations and I’m looking forward to seeing Nelsonians embrace it,” Dr Smith concluded.
New studies find microplastics in salt from the US, Europe and China, adding to evidence that plastic pollution is pervasive in the environment
Sea salt around the world has been contaminated by plastic pollution, adding to experts’ fears that microplastics are becoming ubiquitous in the environment and finding their way into the food chain via the salt in our diets.
Researchers believe the majority of the contamination comes from microfibres and single-use plastics such as water bottles, items that comprise the majority of plastic waste. Up to 12.7m tonnes of plastic enters the world’s oceans every year, equivalent to dumping one garbage truck of plastic per minute into the world’s oceans, according to the United Nations.
“Not only are plastics pervasive in our society in terms of daily use, but they are pervasive in the environment,” said Sherri Mason, a professor at the State University of New York at Fredonia, who led the latest research into plastic contamination in salt. Plastics are “ubiquitous, in the air, water, the seafood we eat, the beer we drink, the salt we use – plastics are just everywhere”.
Fonterra’s Maungaturoto manufacturing site in Northland, New Zealand has recently become home to a rare Australasian Bittern.
The Australasian Bittern, or Matuku as they are known, is a large, heron sized bird. They are rarely sighted because of their secretive behaviour and camouflage technique and are usually most active at dawn, dusk and through the night.
Long serving utilities operator at the site Gary Sosich said he had seen the rare bird while doing routine checks on the site’s stormwater diversion system. He then realised that there was two of them, indicating that there may be a breeding pair living in the wetland. Maungaturoto Environmental Manager Steve Gale says, “It’s positive to see our stormwater treatment wetland is supporting biodiversity. It’s a credit to the stormwater management system we have in place.”
“The bittern population in New Zealand used to be abundant, but there is now thought to be less than 1,000 left due to habitat loss. It’s encouraging to see that our constructed wetland is a comfortable home for them and somewhere that they feel safe.” The bird is an indicator of wetland health, due to their dependence on the presence of high quality and ecologically diverse habitats with a rich food supply
A business initiative that safely disposes of hazardous unwanted refrigerants has had its accreditation as a ‘product stewardship scheme’ extended by the Government, Associate Environment Minister Scott Simpson announced today.
Mr Simpson met with representatives of the Trust for the Destruction of Synthetic Refrigerants to congratulate them on the success their initiative, Refrigerant Recovery, has achieved in safely disposing of hazardous unwanted refrigerants.
Refrigerant Recovery collects unwanted man-made refrigerants from New Zealand’s refrigeration and air conditioning industries. Refrigerants from around the country are shipped to Australia where they are safely destroyed at high temperatures through a process of plasma conversion. The process is highly efficient and produces virtually no emissions.
“Refrigerant Recovery helps to reduce the risk of hazardous compounds such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) entering the environment. If these chemicals get into the environment they damage the earth’s protective ozone layer and contribute to global warming. HFCs are potent greenhouse gases that may be tens of thousands of times more harmful than carbon dioxide,” Mr Simpson says.
“By safely and sustainably disposing of hazardous chemicals, Refrigerant Recovery is helping to mitigate climate change and restore the ozone layer.”
Refrigerant Recovery is also helping New Zealand to meet its international obligations under the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. Under the Climate Change Response Act 1996, New Zealand has been phasing out the import of CFCs and HCFCs into the country. HFCs will be next on the agenda, and the Ministry for the Environment recently closed a consultation round on how to phase down HFCs in a response to the recently agreed Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol.
In 2010, the Government accredited Refrigerant Recovery for seven years as a product stewardship scheme under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. Refrigerant Recovery’s reaccreditation for the next seven years means that the Minister has recognised the scheme’s important contribution to reducing the environmental harms associated with disposing of man-made refrigerants.
Product stewardship describes the process by which producers and suppliers take responsibility for their products throughout their entire lifecycle, such as by reusing and recycling products.
The Ara Timaru Campus is continuing to successfully reduce carbon emissions after converting the main heating system from coal to wood pellets. The campus is mitigating 248.04 tonnes of CO2 every year; that’s a possible 6,201 tonnes of CO2 emissions saved over the 25 year life of the boiler.
The move three years ago to a wood pellet boiler has several other benefits too, Facilities staff have reported.
Unlike coal, wood leaves no toxic ash behind. Formerly, two to three 40 litre drums a day of coal ash containing toxic heavy metals such as mercury and cadmium had to be sent to the landfill. Now, a smaller amount of ash that is produced by the wood pellets is so clean it can be used as garden fertilizer on the Timaru Campus gardens. It amounts to about 60 litres of ash a week.
Alongside the cleaner ash is cleaner air. The wood pellet fired boiler produces less smoke, which is not charged with toxic particles - and consequently the system no longer requires an air discharge consent. “It’s much cleaner for the guys, they are not breathing in sulphur gas, and now when you walk in there is lovely fragrance of pine,” Facilities Manager Timaru Roger Luscombe says.
All these benefits come with another bonus – the wood boiler requires less input from the Facilities team. The old coal boiler was high maintenance; it had to be tended three times a day and cleaned on the weekend. However the new wood boiler requires a clean of the tubes once a week and “a wee rake” first thing in the morning.
“The new wood boiler was an investment for the organisation and a very tangible commitment to more sustainable practice, but we are seeing the pay off. Yes we have the satisfaction of providing good leadership through our example, because reducing the country’s emissions is going to take effort from all of us, but we are also seeing all of these other benefits too,” Ara Sustainability Manager Shaun Bowler says.
The move to a wood pellet is in line with the Ara Sustainability Charter, which commits the institute to principles for action, such as sustainable operation and graduating students who are leaders in sustainability in their field. New initiatives such as the wood pellet boiler, which was introduced in 2013 by the former Aoraki Polytechnic, demonstrates the benefits of sustainable practice to students, staff and the local community.
Local industry is benefitting too. One more gain is that using wood pellets has supported local Timaru jobs. Supplier Starwood are now buying a second pellet mill to meet local demand.
Each year the Timaru wood pellet boiler is saving the Timaru Campus at Ara about 16% of total Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions, which are the emissions from combustion of fossils fuels in operations owned by the organisation and emissions from purchased electricity or other energy sources.
Wood pellets are a win for both the institute and the community when all aspects are accounted for. Fuel for the wood pellet boiler costs $30,000 a year in pellets, as opposed to $18,000 spent on coal, however this is offset by savings related to the cleaner ash and air, reduced labour requirements and increased efficiency to heat 6,906sqm of campus buildings, as well as indirect but significant benefits, including community health improvements and other indirect gains as a result of a cleaner Timaru.
| An ARA release woith MSCNewsWire || September 6, 2017 |||
"The change to the constitution of Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL) to allow it to fund water storage projects that directly lead to environmental benefits is a very positive step and should be extended to recognise resilience and social benefits as well," says Infrastructure New Zealand, Chief Executive Stephen Selwood.
"To date, existing rules guiding the government's irrigation investment arm have placed a too narrow focus on direct economic benefits.
"This has resulted in disproportionate emphasis on maximising land use productivity and insufficient recognition of wider economic, social and environmental benefits.
"Widening the criteria to include the full scope of costs and benefits from irrigation is critical.
"Other benefits not currently adequately recognised include enhancing the resilience of rural areas in the face of climate change, supporting employment and improving the quality and amenity of freshwater resources.
"In the immediate term, this means wider economic and social benefits, including increased regional employment and improved freshwater swimming quality, will be better reflected in the reasons the public invests in irrigation infrastructure.
"We also know that irrigation is increasingly being used to improve environmental performance by recharging aquifers, guaranteeing minimum river flows and flushing systems.
"These benefits are of the utmost importance over the long term as rainfall patterns shift in response to climate change.
"Yet resilience is not currently a significant driver for irrigation investment, and even environmental factors are approached from the perspective of mitigating effects rather than improving environmental performance.
"Assessing the full spectrum of costs and benefits over the long term is a core infrastructure activity and needs to be included in CIIL’s brief," Selwood says.
| An InfrastructureNZ release with MSCNewsWire || September 5, 2017 |||
The largest transition of combustion engines to pure electric shared vehicles in the Southern Hemisphere is set to get underway in Christchurch from November.
Canterbury organisations and residents will soon have access to a pool of 100 pure electric vehicles, only one of a few cities internationally to offer a 100 percent electric-powered car share service.
Kiwi fleet management company, Yoogo, known for its innovative approach to fleet management and leasing, was selected by the Christchurch City Council to implement the service.
Yoogo has been leading the way in its use of GPS data to monitor the efficiency of its fleet. This led the company to strategically develop a car-sharing model that also demonstrates its commitment to electric vehicles. As a result, the company is rebranding to reflect its two core business streams: Yoogo Fleet, which will maintain the business’ focus on fleet management and leasing; and, future focussed Yoogo, which is committed to growing the pure electric car-sharing market. The aim of both brands is to optimise New Zealand’s fleet.
Kirsten Corson, General Manager of Yoogo, says Yoogo’s pure electric car sharing model breaks down barriers around cost and charging infrastructure making pure electric vehicles accessible and affordable.
“The pure electric car-sharing platform is a smart and sustainable way to get around town for businesses and everyday Kiwis,” says Ms Corson. “Yoogo will deliver an experience that is easy, enjoyable and affordable. Cantabrians will pay for the time they use the car and Yoogo takes care of everything else. Users can simply book online and access vehicles via the Yoogo app or swipe card.”
In partnership with Council and its commitment to carbon emission reduction, this initiative is the result of both leading public and private sector organisations partnering over a shared vision for an efficient and sustainable transport solution.
The service will be available for Council, Ara Institute, Aurecon, Beca, Canterbury District Health Board, Chapman Tripp, Environment Canterbury, Meridian Energy, Tonkin and Taylor, Warren and Mahoney, and, Christchurch Airport, as well as for the general public.
Yoogo will initially launch 70 electric vehicles across three city hubs in late November with 30 additional vehicles to follow in February 2018 across ten locations in total.
Kevin Crutchley, Council’s Resource Efficiency Manager and project manager for this city-wide scheme, says “This new, innovative, 100 per cent battery electric transport service is an exciting development for Christchurch. New Zealand’s electricity is mostly generated from renewable energy so this electric vehicle offering will reduce our city’s carbon emissions. Also using a transport service with zero tail pipe emissions will improve air quality and have positive health benefits for the residents of Christchurch.”
Christchurch Airport Chief Executive Malcolm Johns says joining the Yoogo programme aligns with the airport’s active interest in energy management and migrating its vehicle fleet to fully electric.
Yoogo will open hubs at Christchurch Airport, West End and Art Gallery using an A to A model. All the other hubs will be open by the end of March and next year Yoogo will move to an A to B model which means a vehicle can be dropped off at a different Yoogo hub.
The initial hubs around the city will include the West End, Lichfield Street, The Crossing and Art Gallery car parks, Ara Institute, Canterbury University, Papanui and Fendalton Libraries, Lyttelton Community Centre and Christchurch Airport. Pure electric vehicles at these hubs will include Hyundai Ioniq and BMWi3 vehicles.
| An YooGo release For MSCNewsWire || September 6, 2017 |||
Investment in a new learning tool for Automotive Trades students at Ara shows the Institute is anticipating and adapting to new and emerging technology in the field. Students training as Electrical and Mechanical Automotive Engineers in Canterbury now have access to a hybrid car, exposing them to the swift technological developments in the industry.
Partly powered by an internal combustion engine, partly by electric motors, hybrid cars require less petrol than traditional motor vehicles. As such, these environmentally, and economically, friendly cars are becoming an increasingly common sustainable transport alternative.
While the current Automotive courses on offer at Ara focus predominantly on traditional motor vehicles, tutor David McBlain supports the Institute’s move to put students in the drivers’ seat of new, green technology. “As a college we’ve obviously got to adapt and keep up with the latest technology so that the students can actually see what is available and how the technology is actually developing for the future.”
McBlain as the proud owner of a full electric vehicle, has experienced the benefits first hand. His Toyata Prius runs entirely on electric charge so rising petrol prices don’t present a problem. Rather than pay for fuel, he plugs his car into charge each night. “My car is a short range vehicle and will do 120-130km on a single charge. I commute 100kms a day, so it’s enough for me to get in and out to work.”
Many may think that the high tech systems inside hybrid and electric vehicles would result in more complications than traditional petrol powered cars, however he disputes this. “When you look at the technology involved in an electric vehicle and under the bonnet, there is actually far less componentry to go wrong. There’s no gear box, it’s just a final drive. Engine losses are minimal. Acceleration is much superior. For me it’s a win-win. You’re losing less money, you’ve got less things to go wrong with it, and the performance is superseding standard cars already.”
McBlain, stresses the importance of equipping students for the rapidly developing market which they will enter into as graduates. “The technology is here now and it’s only a matter of time over the next couple of years, for the electric vehicles to become more prevalent in New Zealand and Australia. They’re coming now so the future mechanics need to be trained and ready.”
Ara is committed to leading in sustainability across the institute. Guided by the Sustainability Charter, Ara is embedding more sustainable practice and reviewing curriculum to reflect the latest sustainable best practice across all industries.
An estimated 2.5 billion disposable coffee cups are used in the UK each year, creating around 25,000 tonnes of waste.
The difficulties in recycling paper coffee cups are two-fold – in their composition and in any contaminants.
The scheme involves Bywaters, facilities management partners Sodexo and Tenon Group, and UCL.
It will include all paper coffee cups, paper soft drink cups, paper vending machine cups, and paper water fountain cups from UCL’s buildings in central London.
Bywaters is to provide the logistics and collection of paper coffee cups to be converted into quality packaging.
It will collect designated bins then bale up all paper coffee cups to a mill where they will be pulped and the polymer plastic liner separated so all the paper fibre can be recovered and recycled.
The majority of cups collected in the scheme from the cafes on site, although used coffee cups from bins are also being accepted.
Coffee cups are usually collected together with other dry mixed recycling bags collected loose in tail lift vehicle, rather than bins compacted into a dustcart.
John Glover, managing director of Bywaters, told Packaging News that typical paper mills are designed to remove contaminants associated with typical mixed paper, and they expect a lot of different grades from bright white to office paper to kitchen towels, magazine paper coated in chalk or clay, staples, window envelopes.
The mill being used in this scheme is designed to remove high grade paper from the plastic coating and separate the polymer plastic liner.
“Currently paper cups end up as a low grade of paper. If this trial works how we expect it to, we have the scope to change the collection method so that paper cups are picked out as a separate stream at our Materials Recovery Facility. This means the cups could be included in mixed recycling and still go on to produce high grade white paper.”
Bywaters’ Materials Recovery Facility in East London is capable of processing up to 650,000 tonnes of material a year, recovering over 95% of collected materials including plastics and paper. The company’s aim to help all clients achieve at least 80-90% of their recycling targets through continuous innovation.
| A PackagingWorld release || September 1, 2017 |||
A new $400,000 scholarship programme to build global expertise on climate change, agriculture and food security will boost New Zealand’s contribution to agricultural greenhouse gas research say Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett and Primary Industries Minister Nathan Guy.
The scholarship, announced today at the Global Research Alliance on Agricultural Greenhouse Gases (GRA) Council meeting in Tsukuba, Japan, is a joint initiative of the GRA and the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research.
“Finding new ways to reduce agricultural greenhouse gas emissions is crucial to meeting our ambitious 2030 Paris Agreement targets. This scholarship builds on the $20 million a year we already invest in agricultural emissions,” says Mrs Bennett.
“Our farmers care deeply about our environment and we have some of the best environmental farming practices in the world,” says Mr Guy.
“Given a growing global population, it’s in everybody’s interest that we are successful in producing food more efficiently and sustainably. We need all major food producers and the international scientific community to be fully involved.
“Using science and research is a far more sensible approach for tackling agricultural emissions than that of Labour and Greens who would punish farmers and growers by including them in the ETS. This would add a cost that no other country imposes, and ironically mean that consumers buy more products from overseas farmers who are not as environmentally efficient as us.”
New Zealand funding support will enable up to 40 recipients to be hosted in research centres of GRA partners and member countries over the next three years. New Zealand has been a long standing donor of the CGIAR, most recently committing a further $11 million over two years to its network of research institutes around the world.