What is Cullet?

Cullet is recycled broken or waste glass used in glass-making


ACI (O-I NZ today) established and launched the National Glass Reclamation System (NGRS). The notion that resources are limited has started to enter worldwide psyche. Resource recovery and waste minimisation is becoming a focus in Europe – especially Germany. ACI customers expect that the container manufacturer will manage the recycling program.


NGRS operated nationally. ACI paid for cullet, freight and bottle bank production and servicing. Market move away from multi-trip packaging to single-trip, lightweight packaging (supermarkets). NZ wine industry starts maturing. Government move to deregulate local industry and abolish import restrictions. Drink drive laws significantly impact on drinking habits and the shift to in-home drinking drives the growth in packaged beers.


Talks begin with cullet beneficiator to improve quality. Increased sophistication in glass making technology and quality improvement becomes a major objective. ACI compete with container glass imports and competitive pricing is fierce. North Shore City introduces kerbside collection for recyclables.


Beneficiation plant is opened. ACI continues to face severe international competition, as New Zealand’s transition to an ‘open economy’ nears its end. Cost of freight in new Zealand is very high. Waitakere and Auckland cities introduce kerbside collections for recyclables.


ACI moves to a more efficient cullet collection structure. First Packaging Accord signed with Government to cover a 4 year period. ACI addresses cost of doing business – greater efficiency introduced across all areas of the business.


Stage one and two price downs to cullet price and freight subsidies to suppliers. Improved efficiency in ACI operations continues to be a major focus. O-I NZ employs a new GM from the UK and a batch and furnace manager from Germany. Increased cullet usage becomes a major focus.


Second Packaging Accord with Government signed. This Accord encompassed a broader packaging sector – brand owners, retailers, manufacturers and importers. O-I NZ addresses costs of doing business – greater efficiency introduced across all areas of the business.


O-I NZ cullet use constrained by two furnace operation. Recycled glass volumes exceed capacity. Glass Users Group (later the Glass Packaging Forum) established. Levy is paid by majority of those in the glass sector. Waitakere and North Shore cities introduce commingled collection for recyclables.


AK4 (third furnace) project is approved and O-I NZ begins stockpiling cullet for future use. Auckland and Manukau cities introduce commingled collection for all recyclables and Visy Recycling tenders to build and run a Marterial Recovery Facility (MRF). Waste Minimisation Act passed into law. NZ Government introduces the emissions trading scheme.


Packaging Accord with Government ceased. Packaging sector moves toward accredited Product Stewardship Schemes. Glass Packaging Forum container glass scheme accredited by Minister for the Environment. AK4 commissioned.

2009 to Present

Waste Minimisation Act governs the waste industry. $10 per tonne levy on waste to landfill, accredited voluntary Product Stewardship Schemes and local government responsibilities clearly defined. Emissions Trading Scheme. Scheme participants required to report on greenhouse gas emissions and must participate in the scheme. Sustainability Reporting becoming increasingly accepted by mainstream businesses. Carbon foot-printing and reporting sustainability initiatives expected from most packaging manufacturers. Environmental credentials expected across most packaging manufacturers and suppliers.