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Published: 2004-09-23 00:00:00

The number of businesses joining the Waikato and Bay of Plenty’s Waste Exchange grew by 63 percent last year.

The Waste Exchange is a free service helping business to find alternatives to disposal of their wastes. Businesses register waste products with the Exchange which are picked up by other organisations finding a use for the products.

The Waste Exchange, funded by Environment Waikato, Environment Bay of Plenty and local councils reported significant growth in all sectors of business for the 2003/2004 financial year. The total number of businesses registered rose 63 percent to 1300.

There were 315 new exchanges of waste materials between businesses and groups - a rise of 53 percent for the year which diverted 22,710 cubic metres of waste from landfill.

Manager Pippa Russell said word of mouth was the Exchange’s greatest tool.

“Our customer service is focused and our commitment to continuous improvement is paramount. We rely on technology and data for the base of our service. Following up with people and helping with their needs is critical to achieve our successes.”

Some of the exchanges were challenging - such as finding a home for 200 25 litre buckets of liquid sugar in its hardened state. It went to farmers replacing molasses for stock.

“Another 4800 litres of ammonium sulphate, a by-product from a local industry, was filtered and packaged in 20 litre containers, also sourced from the Waste Exchange, and used as a replacement fertilizer for lawns and golf courses” she said.

The system has been adopted in the Bay of Plenty, Hawkes Bay, Gisborne and Auckland Regions with negotiations for other areas including Wellington in the pipeline.

Running the Waste Exchange is very cost effective, equating to only about $4.00 per tonne of waste diverted from landfill compared with $60 to $90 per tonne for disposing of waste to landfill, she said. The Waste Exchange is a free service to businesses.