Short work of household glass waste
Silaca Glass Crushers is having a smashing time on the Kapiti Coast where it is crushing 1000 tonnes - that's 4 million glass bottles or jars - a year to turn into silica-based pavers.
But the company plans to partner with local councils to collect about 6000 tonnes of recyclable glass in the Wellington region to manufacture into pavers and other products.
A $180,000 upgrade of its Otaki crushing facility is already under way.
Under the embryonic plan, councils would essentially make and use their own products, and profit by selling what they don't use to other organisations throughout the country.
The general direction of the plan was presented at a Mayoral Forum just over a week ago but details on how it would work, and which councils would support it, have yet to be established.
Silaca was founded a couple of years ago by entrepreneur and environmentalist Barry Lucinsky and has three full time staff.
The company has grown to the stage where it sells about 20,000 pavers annually.
Some niche pavers are made on-site but a significant part of their range is manufactured in a joint venture with Horizon International, one of the country's biggest paving manufacturers.
Lucinsky, a former chief executive of Keep New Zealand Beautiful, said having a major manufacturer on board was good for business.
"They give us credibility that we aren't some village industry."
When glass is crushed at the company's Otaki base, up to 75 per cent goes into the pavers, along with cement to hold it all together.
"There is a particular size and shape that it [crushed glass] needs to be to work. You can't just take any old [crushed] glass and throw it in."
The company is also looking at a range of possibilities for the smaller by-product glass not used for pavers such as abrasives, providing traction on floors and in road marking paint, and in filters for waste water systems, swimming pools and spa pools.
There are also opportunities in artificial sports turf, Lucinsky said.
"Trafalgar Park in Nelson was done with a whole lot of glass out of Christchurch."
Silaca Glass Crushers was a finalist in this year's Green Gold category of The Dominion Post-sponsored Gold Awards.