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Auckland welcomes a $10 million investment in new zero waste infrastructure

Resource recovery diverts valuable materials from landfill for a second life

Published: 7 August 2020

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Everything that we keep out of the pathway to landfill lowers our emissions.

Auckland Council welcomes the Ministry for the Environment announcement of $10.67 million for improvements to the Community Recycling Centres as part of the Resource Recovery Network across the Auckland region.

This $10 million Central Government funding will fast track the effectiveness of Community Recycling Centres through developing fit for purpose infrastructure. It will expand employment by increasing the volume of materials and the number of related activities they can undertake to work towards zero waste.

Mayor Phil Goff said the $10.67 million would be invested in capital projects across Auckland to make its resource recovery network more effective.

“Sending stuff to landfill wastes valuable resources that can be recycled and reused; it also contributes to climate change by creating carbon emissions,” he said.

“This investment will fast track the effectiveness of the Resource Recovery Network by building fit-for-purpose sites to enhance resource recovery activity towards a circular economy. It will also create around 50 jobs, much needed given the COVID-19 recession. It’s about creating a sustainable environment and economy that takes account of the needs of future generations and not just our own,” Phil Goff said.

Community Recycling Centres are run in partnership with community enterprises and Auckland Council to reduce waste to landfill by reusing, re-purposing and recycling as much as possible, creating a circular economy.

The take-make-dispose mindset is a linear economy, in which it feels cheaper to buy new again instead of repairing items or turning them into something useful. The circular economy is one in which manufacturers consider the full life of a product and design it to last longer and be re-purposed at the end of its use. The Sustainable Business Network estimated that Auckland could be $8.8 billion better off in 2030 if it developed a circular economy.

Environment and Climate Change Committee Chair Councillor Richard Hills shares the significance of this investment, saying,

“The waste sector in Auckland is estimated to contribute 3.1 per cent of total emissions for the region, and disposal to landfill is a significant part of this. Everything that we keep out of the pathway to landfill lowers our emissions.

“Community Recycling Centres have been embraced by Aucklanders because of their integral role in turning unwanted items into valuable resources that can be used again.

“Auckland’s nine Community Recycling Centres provide pathways from volunteer to paid employment and have already created around 50 full and part-time positions in their communities. Jobs will also be created in the wider resource recovery network, as local businesses use materials to develop new products and services, like furniture and appliance repair businesses. There are also opportunities for larger businesses that collect and process recovered materials.”

Associate Minister for the Environment Eugenie Sage announced this as “a major investment in strengthening the resource recovery network across the Auckland Council region. It aligns with Auckland Council’s vision to be ‘zero waste by 2040, taking care of people and the environment and turning waste into resources.’

She said, “It will help Auckland emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic and transition quickly to a future with on-shore resource recovery infrastructure and high performing kerbside recycling systems addressing our rubbish record on waste.”

There are nine Community Recycling Centres across the Auckland region, and a new one is opening in Onehunga next year. Visit your local centre this weekend to drop off items or shop.

Read more: Waste Environment

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