Refurbishment project’s shrink-wrap alternative


Despite shrink-wrap being the most convenient solution to keep the weather out, Auckland Council’s Senior Waste Planning Specialist Mark Roberts was adamant it would not be used for remedial work on the Waiōrea Community Recycling Centre

The 1930s Western Springs building will open in August this year after extensive remedial work on the roof and parapet.

Shrink-wrap has been the go-to option in the construction industry for the past twenty years or more. But despite assurances it is often recycled, I still see this plastic regularly end up in landfill.

With this building, we wanted to try to say no to a single-use product, particularly as the work would be done during Plastic Free July.

With construction and demolition waste comprising up to half of all waste going to landfill, I have been working with developers to solve this sector-wide issue.

We don’t have infinite resources, nor a bottomless pit for waste. If we’re asking industry to change its business-as-usual practices, then we, as the council, must be innovative and start to set the example. That’s why we challenged our contractors to come up with a better alternative to shrink-wrap.

After considering various alternatives, including tarpaulins, the option chosen to replace shrink-wrap is the Keder system, which is a fabric stretched over rails that allows it to slide into place. Not only is it more environmentally friendly, but it is also less unsightly. The system itself is flexible with a variety of uses including for marquees, tents, and awnings. Most importantly, it is designed to be taken down and reused multiple times.

The Waiōrea Community Recycling Centre is a partnership between MPHS Community Trust and Auckland Council. It will serve as a community resource recovery centre and education hub.  As well as repurposing an existing building, the project incorporates circular building initiatives including the installation of reused Interface carpet tiles.

Our goal is a zero-waste city by 2040, which means finding effective ways to reduce waste and create reusable resources. As part of the wider resource recovery network, Waiōrea will help achieve that goal. It’s up to all of us in our communities and our businesses to do the right thing.