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On the hunt for waste-inspired projects

Last year the government’s Waste Minimisation Fund (WMF) supported 27 projects totalling $7.5 million in funding, and with the third round of funding now open, the call has been put out for projects that in particular will help Canterbury’s earthquake recovery. 

This year $12 million is up for grabs, and businesses, individuals and organisations have been invited to apply. 

Every year New Zealanders throw out a whopping 3.2 million tonnes of waste into landfill. That’s a whole lot of waste made worse by the fact that a decent chunk of it could actually be re-purposed and recycled into something useful. One example of a funded project that has found a useful purpose for waste is the 'HotRot' composting plant in North Canterbury that breaks disposable nappy waste into a safe, odourless compost. Plans are now underway to expand the facilities and open up a plant in Wellington. 

Elsewhere, the fund has supported a Rotorua facility that converts sewage into plastic another in Auckland that converts tyres into biofuel. 

The fund sources its finance through the waste disposal levy that was introduced under the Waste Minimisation Act 2008. The levy currently sits at $10 per tonne of waste sent to landfill and environment minister Nick Smith has said there are no plans to increase it this year. Fifty percent of the money collected from the levy is dished out to city and district councils,  on a population basis, in accordance with their Waste Management and Minimisation Plans.