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LPB Recycling Programme



The first compressed bale of upcycled food and beverage cartons from the Clutha District has been created, as part of the Clutha District Council-led trial which began over a year ago.

The trial, which began in early 2023, saw over 4,000 food and beverage cartons (often known as TetraPaks) received at 6 public drop-off points located throughout the district.

The cartons were collected, baled, and then sent to saveBOARD in Hamilton, a sustainable recycling and upcycling company that takes food and beverage cartons from across New Zealand and uses compression and heat to turn the product into wall board. This initiative meant a staggering 140kg of high value product package was saved from the landfill.

Prior to being sent to saveBOARD loose cartons were stored at Mt Cooee landfill before reaching the Pakeke Lions Club in Gore, where volunteers managed the task of baling the cartons for transport.

Clutha District Council Waste Education Officer Scott Martin says, “Food and beverage cartons are not accepted as a part of kerbside household recycling, due to the composite nature of the packaging comprised of cardboard, plastic and aluminium. This mix of materials cannot be separated into the individual components for conventional recycling.”

Food and beverage cartons need to be cut and rinsed thoroughly in order to be accepted at drop off points, to prevent contamination in the upcycling process.

“We were impressed with the uptake of the initiative, and even more astounded at the vigilance of consumers to prepare their cartons for drop off. The bale received by saveBOARD was 100% contamination free, which emphasises the desire in our communities to participate in the initiative and recycle these cartons into long-life construction materials.”.

“It’s great to have a simple system in place for consumers, and knowing that our waste is being recycled within New Zealand for creating products available locally is an excellent driver for us.” said Mr Martin.

Since December 2021, saveBOARD has been turning composite packaging waste into products that re-enter the local supply chain, eliminating future waste. Collected food and beverage cartons are diverted from landfills then shredded, compressed and heated to create MBIE-approved plasterboard substitutes, available throughout New Zealand as a special order through selected building supply stores.

Increasing the scope of the scheme is a key goal for Mr Martin, striving towards removing food and beverage cartons packaging from our landfill. He encourages any local businesses, schools or community groups wanting to contribute to the initiative or offer their store as a drop off point for in the Clutha District to reach out directly by email at scott.martin@cluthadc.govt.nz.

To participate in the initiative and contribute to reducing waste in the Clutha District, clean cartons can be dropped off for collection at Mt Cooee Landfill, Health 2000 or Café 55 in Balclutha, Tokomairiro Community Hub in Milton, Tahatika Coffee Traders in Owaka, or The Lost Gypsy Gallery in Papatowai.

To prepare cartons for recycling, participants should leave any plastic lids on, as these form the glue that binds the board together during the heating process. Cut along the top and side of the carton to open it up, and then thoroughly rinse the container clean.

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