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Published: 2001-10-02 00:00:00

The Waste Exchange is turning some unusual trash into new treasures.

The free database, which now runs in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty, is finding new uses for some industrial items which would have ended up buried in landfill, and instead are being put to good use.

Several flooring companies are registered in both Bay of Plenty and the Waikato. Flooring waste products include vinyl samples, carpet and rubber underlay off-cuts, cardboard and plastic carpet cores and carpet bags. The plastic carpet cores (2m or 3.6m length and 100mm wide) have been turned to some interesting uses.

Hamilton's Fish City take 30 of the cylinders every six months to safely transport fishing rods overseas. Fish City say these plastic cores are free, prevent crushing and take up less bulk than other ways of packaging their products.

A local small block holder in the Waikato acquired 40 cores to use for drainage on his farm. With a little kiwi ingenuity the farmer has been able to collect rain water from roofs and control boggy ground on his farm.

Taupo District Council began replacing their old heavy acoustic ceiling tiles for earthquake-safe lighter tiles. About half way through the job a three tonne truckload of these plaster tiles needed to be disposed of, so the waste exchange advertised in the Taupo Times. It also contacted schools which might use the tiles for art, as well as Materials Processing who have mobile concrete crushers that could recycle the tiles as powder for fillers.

A keen home renovator ended up with the tiles to put in his ceiling. Another three tonnes of the plaster tiles will be available in November through the Waste exchange.

Asado Foods of Tauranga, which makes vegetable and chicken stocks, had tons of cooked vegetables they needed to dispose of weekly.

The Waste Exchange talked with pig and worm farmers registered on the Waste Exchange, but there were no farms large enough or near enough to Tauranga for regular collection.

Through networking, The Waste Exchange contacted Cobi Thomson who has a small worm farm in Katikati. He also works for Power Organics Bay of Plenty, which has a huge worm farm. Power Organics was able to use the full one to two tonnes of cooked vegetables and some chicken stock. The deal will be an on-going partnership to re-use what was once waste.

Co-ordinator Pippa Russell said the exchanges being negotiated indicated some ingenious uses of what used to be considered waste. The deals benefited both the provider and the user, and also prevented the wates being dumped in landfills.

The Waste Exchange can be contacted by calling Sarah on 0800 NO THROW (0800 668 4769) or visit their website on