Greasing the wheels of lubricant container recycling


A new consultancy has been established in New Zealand to tackle the problem of waste lubricant packages

The privately owned 3R Group is leading the Waste Lubricant Container Product Stewardship Scheme which has been established with the aim of exploring  recycling options for lubricant containers.

It is estimated that around 7 million (20 litre and under) lubricant and grease containers, plus an unknown number of 200 litre drums, are sent to landfills each year, Waste Management World reports.

The scheme intends to “close the loop” on lubricant packaging and contribute to the development of a Circular Economy in New Zealand, with a focus on supporting the development of processing capacity and end use markets.

Members intend to work together as part of a voluntary, industry-led scheme to recover, reuse and recycle waste lubricant containers for urban and rural customers.

It is hoped that this will maximise the number of containers diverted from landfill and reduce the need for virgin resin imports.

“Considering that most lubricant containers are manufactured from High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) or metal, both highly recyclable after pre-treatment, this provides the ideal opportunity to capture these resources onshore,” explains Adele Rose, Chief Executive of 3R Group, the project managers.

“The scheme is focused on creating an environment for market pull through of the collected material, supporting the economy through improved resource use and employment opportunities.

“The scheme will create a united industry position that will help bring positive behavioural change to the way that waste lubricant packaging has traditionally been disposed of.”

3R began working with the industry after being approached by Z Energy Ltd earlier this year to facilitate an industry working group to develop stewardship for waste lubricant container recycling.

Initial meetings with the industry made it clear a nation-wide solution was needed.

Z Energy is joined by well-recognised brands – Aegis Oil Co, Allied Lubricants Ltd (HWR), Castrol NZ, Farmlands Co-Operative Society Ltd (Gulf Oil), Lubricants NZ (Vertex & Elf), Oil Intel Ltd (Total Lubricants), Penrite Oil NZ Ltd and Valvoline NZ Ltd.

Other brands are expected to join up over the coming months.