Recycling trial puts old cartons to use

A new waste minimisation trial is under way for Clutha to turn rubbish from landfill into a vital building material.

“The trial allows people to recycle paper-board liquid cartons, commonly referred to as Tetra Paks,’’ Clutha District Council waste minimisation officer Laura Gourley said.

‘‘This packaging is a composite of cardboard, plastic and aluminium — often used for things like soy milk and juice — which has previously been sent to [the] landfill,”

The initiative will divert these products from waste and send them to Hamilton where they will be recycled into wallboard suitable for construction.

Plasterboard brand Gib-Board was extremely scarce earlier in the year and was now available in quantity only by order-allocation, while competitors’ products were widely available.

The collection trial was based in Balclutha, where the packaging could be dropped off at Clyde St businesses Le Bocal and Cafe 55, as well as Mt Cooee Landfill.

Volunteer depot-collectors Maureen Martin and Camille MacAulay of Cafe 55 and La Bocal respectively, compared the wallboard alternative to the heavy, recycled plastic struts used in park benches outside local supermarkets.

‘‘It’s a brilliant idea,’’ Mrs Martin said.

‘‘Imagine how much waste could be permanently removed from the environment with really useful products like this.’’

The Tetra Paks needed to be cut open, rinsed and flattened to be recycled by the drop-off points and could not go into yellow-lidded wheelie bins.

The trial was funded through waste levy funding, and results would be considered in November 2023 before a decision was made on permanence or expansion throughout the district..

“Initiatives like this help New Zealand to build a more circular economy. “It’s fantastic to see local businesses eager to be part of this trial and I’d love to see the community get behind it too,” Mrs Gourley said.