Karen Murray, General Manager of SULO Talbot with the new mobile garbage bins manufactured from recycled waste milk bottles. Karen Murray, General Manager of SULO Talbot with the new mobile garbage bins manufactured from recycled waste milk bottles. CREDIT: Tony Edmonds

Waste milk bottles avoid landfill in new use

Tuesday 13 March 2012, 11:19AM
By SULO Talbot


Some of the 23,000 tonnes of waste milk bottles produced annually in New Zealand, are now being given a new use as mobile garbage bins (MGBs)

Clutha District Council has taken delivery of 6,000 new MGBs for the community, which contain up to 65 percent of re-constituted waste plastic from discarded milk bottles.

To celebrate the completion of this successful project, representatives from Council met with other partners and contractors today,  in Balclutha.

Infrastructure specialist Delta, the Council’s solid waste management provider, is in the final stages of distributing the bins to households throughout the district.

When the MGB’s become damaged or taken out of service, they can be fully recycled and re-moulded into new bins, which then creates a perpetual cycle of 100 percent re-use.

The technology was developed by a partnership between the Government, SULO Talbot, the local manufacturer of the MGBs, The Plastics Centre of Excellence at University of Auckland and Clariant New Zealand, a multi-national specialising in plastics and polymers.

SULO Talbot  made a successful application for a grant from the Government’ Waste Minimisation Fund to research how the plastics in waste milk bottles could be converted into suitable raw material for the manufacture of MGB’s.

Environment Minister, Nick Smith said the Waste Minimisation Fund was established to support projects that reuse, recover and recycle waste.

“For every MGB produced, approximately 90 recycled two litre milk bottles are diverted from landfill, making SULO Talbot’s Milk Bottle Reincarnation project an excellent example of the government supporting an innovative organisation to achieve its goals,” said Dr Smith.

SULO Talbot’s General Manager, Karen Murray, said the company had to overcome challenges in altering the composition of recycled plastic milk bottle material so that it could be re-constituted into the type of plastic required for MGB production.

She said the breakthrough was made in time for most of Clutha District Council’s 6,000 bins to contain the recycled material.

Clutha District Mayor, Bryan Cadogan said his Council was thrilled Clutha residents would be the first in the country to use the new bins. “It sends a powerful message to our community that recycling is more than just a feel-good service. It actually does make a huge difference towards the ideal of Zero Waste, ” he said.

SULO Talbot, in the past two years, has lifted the recycled content of its MGBs from less than 20 percent to 65 percent.

This latest development enables the company to recycle up to two tonnes of waste milk bottles every day when running at full production.