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Ceremony marks a milestone in delivery of new kerbside waste collection

10 June 2008

Today’s (Tuesday, 10 June) blessing and ground-breaking ceremony for the new Christchurch Composting Plant marks a milestone in the delivery of the Christchurch City Council’s Waste Minimisation Plan, the new three-bin kerbside domestic waste collection.

Located at Bromley, the new composting plant will be operational from late February 2009, annually processing 65,000 tonnes of waste into high-quality compost, timely with last week’s announcement that synthetic fertiliser prices will double this year.

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker says 50 per cent of the rubbish residents put out in their black rubbish bags is compostable.

“The organic waste we send to landfill each year fills up the landfill and results in greenhouse gases and leachates. The composting plant is one part of our new three-bin kerbside domestic waste service which will allow us to contribute to the reuse of valuable materials and help makeChristchurch a more sustainable city.”

Compost produced from the plant will offer growers in Canterbury with a high-quality alternative to traditional fertiliser, says George Fietje, General Manager of Living Earth, designer and operator of the plant.

“Fertiliser costs have risen steeply due to escalating fuel costs and demand from rapidly expanding growers in Asia. What many growers don’t know is the high nutritional value of compost; recent research showing the nutrients in the plant’s annual output being equivalent to 3000 tonnes of fertiliser.”

Mr Parker says the compostable waste from the city’s new domestic kerbside collection will be processed in a state-of-the-art 18-tunnel composting plant.

“It will take 21 days for this facility to convert the waste into fresh, high-quality compost.”

The Christchurch Composting Plant is one of the key components of the city’s waste minimisation plan, helping to reduce by 42,000 tonnes each year the amount of domestic waste going to landfill.

“This will result in less carbon emissions, 1000 fewer truck movements to the Kate Valley landfill, and most importantly help to ensure a sustainable future for our city.”

The plant will use solar power for staff hot water heating and reuse leachate and rain water from the roof in the control of the composting process.

“Christchurch aims to become the most sustainable city in New Zealand, the new service, which will roll out from February next year, will help us to achieve our goal. As a city, I am proud to say we are showing real leadership in this area and being watched by many other New Zealand cities,” Mr Parker says.

Council's other partners in delivering the Waste Minimisation Plan are:

  • Meta Processing (a subsidiary of Meta NZ) - the company is building a new materials recovery facility at Parkhouse Road to process recyclables collected.
  • Transpacific Cleanaway - the company which will be operating the kerbside collection service.

Within the new 3000sqm composting plant, which will be one of the largest in Australasia, the waste will be received, sorted, shredded and blended for composting.

“It is great to be involved in the new operation where we are taking and transforming carbon-rich materials to enhance the fertility of our soils,” Mr Fietje says.

“The real value to growers is the capacity of compost to improve the health of soils by adding organic matter.”

He says Ngai Tahu Corporation’s farming interests are already looking at using Living Earth compost to restore their soils.

“And it is exciting to see this type of operation in New Zealand, to be working with a local authority which has such vision to provide a sustainable future by being responsible in safely recovering and reusing its waste stream.

“I applaud Christchurch City for its vision and Living Earth is pleased to be working in partnership with the city to create this sustainable future.”

Mr Parker says the real success of this operation will rest with the residents of Christchurch who will provide the raw material for the high-quality compost product – “everyone has a part to play”.

Christchurch’s new composting plant will create new job opportunities for 20 people.


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