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Source: Auckland Council

Auckland Council welcomes today’s Government announcement of more than $16 million in funding to upgrade the city’s recycling facilities. Mayor Phil Goff says the upgrade will improve the technology used for optical sorting of the city’s recycling.

“The $16.6 million in funding will allow Auckland to increase its recycling processing capacity by 28 per cent,” he says.

“This investment helps us to reduce contamination in goods put out by households for recycling and in the longer term will help us recycle more here in New Zealand, rather than overseas.

“We can’t just keep sending products to landfill and wasting valuable materials.

“We have in recent years focused on recycling as much as we can. However, we have relied heavily on this recycling occurring overseas, and with the closure of markets there for recycling, we want to minimise the risk of paper and plastics having to be sent to landfill,” adds Mayor Goff.

Parul Sood, Auckland Council Waste Solutions General Manager, explains what these improvements mean for Auckland’s recycling, saying, “Auckland has been fortunate to maintain kerbside recycling collections throughout COVID-19 levels because of the automated processing systems we have in place.

“These investments from the Ministry for the Environment will also help other regions implement safer processing of recycling while moving towards a standard approach across New Zealand.”

She adds, “This upgrade is expected to reduce Auckland’s paper and cardboard recycling contamination rates to less than 2 per cent. This provides some protection from the volatility of global recycling markets.

“The long-term goal is to grow the capacity to recycle more within New Zealand instead of overseas.

“Paper and cardboard are the biggest source of Auckland’s kerbside recycling, making up 55,000 tonnes a year (out of 135,000 tonnes total). New optical sorting equipment will separate paper from cardboard, allowing these materials to be more easily recycled into new products. It will also improve the accuracy of sorting, so that other recyclable materials don’t end up mixed in with paper products.”