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Cost-saving upcycling

Polystyrene from the Pioneer Recreation and Sports Centre renovations in Christchurch has been upcycled and diverted from landfill, saving the Christchurch City Council thousands of dollars in the process.

Citycare Property is currently carrying out the final stages of a six-month project at the pool complex in Somerfield to repair and strengthen the pool plant and roof, install a state-of-the-art filtration system to reduce chlorine, chemicals, and maintenance costs, and set up an innovative HVAC system linked to pool heating.

When roofing panels were first opened up as part of the initial investigation, the team identified them as being a Kingspan panel constructed from a 200mm polystyrene core laid both sides with a prefinished steel sheeting.

With the potential environmental and cost impact associated with disposing of 22 tonnes of polystyrene material to landfill, Citycare Property Construction Team Project Manager Victor Moller decided that a better solution must exist.

Polystyrene samples were sent to Expol in Christchurch to identify the exact nature of the material and discussions started around ways to extend the footprint of Expol’s current small-scale recycling initiative to accommodate the needs of this massive project.

“We worked closely with Expol over two weeks to develop a process in which all of the polystyrene could be upcycled back into insulation material at a significantly more economical cost than landfill disposal with zero impact on project timeline and deliverables,” Victor says.

“Prior to recycling the polystyrene core, the steel sheet cladding was stripped and sent separately to be recycled,” he says.

The process has since been fine-tuned and is now repeatable.

With an ongoing region-wide pool upgrade programme in place, Citycare Property’s upcycling solution will be put to good use by the Council, diverting many more tonnes of waste away from landfills.

Victor Moller kept Christchurch City Council Project Manager Albert Smit informed throughout this journey and Albert was delighted with the result. He has since circulated this as a good news story, encouraging other businesses to follow suit.

“Citycare’s approach to recycling is refreshing, to say the least,” Albert says.

“Right from the start of this project, they've had a real drive to re-use or recycle old material and put it to good use in years to come, which is a perfect match for how Christchurch City Council aims to do things.

“The lessons we learned from this Pioneer project have been shared with our team at the Council, and we're looking at how we can increase styrofoam and other types of recycling on other projects,” Albert says.

 

 

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