Minimising waste for a better future
Our award-winning waste-minimisation programme continues to be an important part of our operations and is now firmly embedded in our sustainability ethos.
Concrete recycling is part of a waste-minimisation programme that was introduced following the Kaikōura earthquake, to ensure the sustainable demolition of damaged port buildings.
Since the programme was set up in 2017, we’ve recycled and repurposed 128,000 tonnes (57,000 cubic metres) of waste concrete.
Around 95 percent by weight of the former BNZ building was recycled – and this included soft materials such as carpets and other fittings.
Concrete, steel and asphalt from demolition work is processed at the Kaiwharawhara site where it’s crushed into gravel. This is reused back on port for ground improvements and other infrastructure works.
In addition to recycling the materials, more than 9,200 truck hours have been saved by not having to move this to landfill.
“This year there’s been a step change in our approach to sustainability. While it’s been included in the port’s planning and activities for some time, recently it has been really lifted up in its profile and importance, and we’re continually assessing what we’re doing in the sustainability space.”
– Thomas Marchant, Environmental Manager
The concrete-recycling project connects to regeneration through the environment and community pillars. It’s enabling us to:
- reduce the amount of waste going to landfill
- create materials for port use so they don’t have to be sourced elsewhere
- reduce our energy use and emissions through reducing the need to truck waste to landfill and get new materials to port
- provide free materials for community projects.
Some of the surplus new gravel has been donated to community projects, such as local mountain bike trails and the Ngā Manu Nature Reserve at Ōtaki. This reflects the community pillar in our regeneration by creating relationships and supporting our neighbouring communities.
Last year we expanded our concrete recycling to accept material from outside port, and we now have several contractors bringing us their hard waste to process and reuse.
We have also received resource consent to reuse other materials that don’t meet the definition of clean fill – if handled correctly these can be reused safely – and this further reduces our waste.
Our waste-minimisation programme has met the Toitū Envirocare gold standard.