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Published: 2001-07-11 00:00:00

The Waste Exchange has found new uses for everything from honey and plastic bags to ceramic tiles and computers in the past year.

This week’s Environment Waikato Environment Committee meeting heard the Exchange had rapidly increased the number of businesses registering products and doubled the number of wastes exchanged over the past year. The Exchange is a database sponsored by Environment Waikato, Environment BoP and district councils to register business waste so it can be used by others.

Co-ordinator Pippa Russell said the number of calls to the Exchange had risen from about 1200 last year to 1800 this year, with 300 exchanges of products – twice the number exchanged last year. Four hundred businesses were now registered, compared with 150 last year and 250 materials are available on the database.

More than one million litres of waste has been diverted from landfills using the service.

Amongst the successful uses were a group of people with disabilities sorting plastics from Waikato Hospital for re-use, large bags used for paints re-used for transporting gravel, surplus bank computers stripped and re-sold for parts, a teacher using a variety of products to teach mathematics to high school students and 18,000 litres of honey provided for a farmer to feed to cows.

Fluorescent lights from Hamilton City Council are being used in homes and businesses, bags used for lactose from a dairy company are being separated and reused, and a group of singers are using surplus wood briquettes and plastic bags as a fundraising venture, Ms Russell said.

The Exchange has a website where businesses can register their surplus products and find materials to re-use and partnerships are developing between councils, business and the community.

Chairman Neil Clarke praised the work of the Exchange and said he would raise the matter at the next Mayoral Forum to engender more support for the scheme. More funding is to be provided for resourcing to run the database for the coming financial year.