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Clutha District Council

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.

Background to Clutha District Council

The Clutha District about an hour's drive south of Dunedin. It has a population of about 17,000 spread over an area of about 6,362km2

The main townships are Balclutha (population about 4,000), Milton (about 1,900), Kaitangata (800), Tapanui (750), Lawrence (430), Owaka (330), Stirling (300), Clinton (300), Kaka Point (200) and Waihola (200).

Clutha is primarily supported by successful agricultural activities with many types of farming and forestry dominating the area's economy.

This rural way of life adds to the attraction of the area, and the tourism trade is growing markedly, particularly in The Catlins area, attracting the traveller that likes an untouched paradise and prefers to explore beyond the beaten tourist track.

Clutha District Council is the territorial authority for the district, and Bryan Cadogan is the current Mayor.

In April 2012, Council is introducing a new fortnightly kerbside recycling and rubbish collection.

This will see the introduction of the new yellow-lidded wheelie bin for recyclables being collected one week, and the existing green-lidded wheelie bin for household week collected the following week.

More information about this new service is available online at

Background to SULO Talbot

SULO Talbot is a partnership between two award winning plastic injection moulding companies, SULO MGB Australia, located in Sydney Australia, and Talbot Plastics, located in Christchurch.

The partnership between the two companies commenced in April 2008 with the commissioning of a new manufacturing facility for a variety of waste and recycling containers including Mobile Garbage Bins, commonly known as wheelie bins.
At 2:08am on Friday 1 August 2008, SULO Talbot manufactured its first MGB at its Auckland plant.

The company is dedicates to the concept of a zero waste society, through three principles it applies to all of its planning:

  • A zero waste society is possible in the future. Nobody can predict when, but it will be in small and large steps achieved by both Governments and private enterprise.
  • Waste minimisation can be progressively accomplished in a commercially viable manne
  • Rewarding careers can be created in the drive to a zero waste society

“General manager, Karen Murray, said the ultimate target is zero waste and this will evolve with progressive successes.

“Our delivery to Clutha District Council has been another milestone in this evolution and we do not intend to rest there.”

She said SULO Talbot plans to expand its services to Councils in New Zealand so that a turnkey solution in the supply, distribution and replacement of MGBs can be provided.

“Our key partners in the streets of New Zealand are the Councils and their refuse collection contractors.

“We see our role in manufacturing, distributing and replacing their MGBs and crates as they are needed.“And underlying that is a mutual vision of a zero waste society,” she said.

Background to the Ministry For the Environment’s ’s Waste Minimisation Fund Programme.

The Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) has been set up to boost New Zealand’s performance in waste minimisation.

The WMF will help fund waste minimisation projects that will increase resource efficiency, increase reuse, recovery and recycling, and decrease waste to landfill.

Lifting our performance in recovering economic value from waste also provides environmental, social and cultural benefits, and reduces the risks of harm from waste.

Only projects that promote or achieve waste minimisation are eligible for funding. This includes educational projects that promote waste minimisation activity.

Criteria for the WMF was set by the Minister for the Environment and notified in the Gazette on 8 October 2009.

The purpose of the WMF is to provide some of the funding to ensure that:

  • Investment in infrastructure and systems for waste minimisation occurs
  • Educational and promotional capacity is developed.
  • The WMF operates two funding rounds each year, in which the Ministry calls for applications for funding. Funding is allocated to selected projects following consideration of applications received during the funding round. The Minister for the Environment makes the final decision about which projects will receive funding.