New Zealand begins recycling earthquake waste

New Zealand is to start recycling the rubble generated from the Christchurch earthquakes in what is thought to be one of the biggest aggregate recovery projects in the Southern Hemisphere.

An estimated 4.5m tonnes of demolition waste has been produced by the earthquakes when they hit the city back in February 2011. Most of it has been dumped at a landfill site in Burwood, but authorities hope to recycle about a million tonnes of aggregate, concrete, timber, metal, plaster board and plastics from the rubble.

The country’s Environment Minister Nick Smith said the Government would contribute $2.5m toward new machinery to sift the rubble and recycle as much as possible. The waste will be separated into 10 different products for reuse.

Smith said: “Our objective is to recover as much as is practical without excessively adding to the costs of the earthquake recovery. It will not be possible or economic to recycle all of the earthquake waste.”

Transpacific Waste Management will carry out the project, which will cost $9.5m. The money will be spent on specialised machinery and a new recycling plant. Any remaining waste will be sorted, with any contaminated rubble sent to another landfill site in Kate Valley.

Maxine Perella

Action inspires action. Stay ahead of the curve with sustainability and energy newsletters from edie