Auckland, New Zealand-Zero Waste New Zealand Ltd and Vita New Zealand Ltd have launched a scheme for recycling polyurethane foam.
Trials are underway to recycle the foam and reuse it in other products rather than send it to landfill, said an announcement from the two organisations.
"Councils, community groups and waste companies now have a potential avenue to recycle foam, a major component of furniture in New Zealand," the announcement said. Foam was previously a waste product, costing up to $120 per tonne in landfill fees, but is now on track to be sold, collected and reprocessed in NZ, the two groups said.
If a trial is successful, the foam will attract a small payment per kg. It will be collected for reuse from designated sites throughout the country, said Zero Waste NZ.
We are excited to have found a way to complete the loop and bring end of life foam back to our factories, for reuse in the New Zealand market," said Michael Sexton, director of Vita NZ.
A joint statement said that a bonus is that the foam will be processed for reuse within New Zealand, not shipped overseas as many recyclables are. And if enough foam is collected, this will save on the current importat of raw materials.
Zero Waste NZ plans to set up a number of depots around the country where foam can be collected and stored for ultimate delivery to Vita.
The waste group points out that furniture can consist totally of foam with a fabric cover, or have a timber frame which is untreated and so suitable for firewood, and springs which can go in the metal collection which is also a revenue item. Clean squabs, car seats, carpet underlay and cushions are other sources of foam, said Zero Waste NZ.