saveBOARD plant officially opens in Te Rapa

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From left: Hamilton West MP Dr Gaurav Sharma, saveBoard chief executive officer Paul Charteris and Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate.

The Te Rapa, Hamilton, factory of New Zealand company saveBOARD, which converts packaging waste into environmentally-sustainable construction boards, has been officially opened by Hamilton mayor Paula Southgate and Hamilton West MP Dr Gaurav Sharma.

Mayor Southgate says she was delighted Hamilton had been chosen as the base for an innovative technology that addressed an environmental issue by reducing waste to landfill, and a building supply issue by turning that waste into a certified, safe and low-carbon construction board.

Dr Sharma says by producing building materials in New Zealand the saveBOARD plant would improve supply chain resilience while providing local employment and helping to reduce carbon emissions.

saveBOARD co-founder and chief executive officer Paul Charteris says the factory started producing saleable product in November 2021.

January 10, 2022, it has been operating 24 hours a day, three days a week, producing 400 boards a day and diverting up to 4000 tonnes of waste from landfill annually.

The company plans to ramp the factory up to six days per week as demand increases. The factory has created new jobs, with more expected as the project grows.

Charteris says New Zealand builders can now replace plywood, particle board and plaster board with saveBOARD’s low-carbon, environmentally-sustainable construction boards made from packaging waste such as used beverage cartons, soft plastics and coffee cups.

saveBOARD has funding and support from industry leaders Freightways, Tetra Pak and Closed Loop Solutions which will provide recycled material as well as transport and logistics solutions.

Tetra Pak Oceania managing director Andrew Pooch says this local recycling solution is more than just an investment.

“It is the right thing to do,” Pooch says. The saveBOARD facility delivers on the New Zealand Government’s objective to transform recycling by delivering a local circular economy solution.

“The facility has the capacity to process all the beverage cartons in New Zealand and increase if demand grows. It will require a steady supply of used beverage cartons through kerbside recycling to deliver a much-needed supply of sustainable building materials in the market.

“Cartons are one of the most environmentally-friendly packaging options for food and beverage in New Zealand.

“With a local whole-of-carton recycling solution, we are excited to contribute to a robust circular economy in New Zealand.’’

Freightways chief executive officer Mark Troughear is thrilled to see the plant up and running, and says its investment in SaveBOARD was an important step in the NZX-listed company’s continuing mission to find circular waste solutions.

“One of Freightways’ core principles is to take ownership and solve problems through action. Investing in SaveBOARD was an opportunity to do just that by supporting a smart and market-ready idea,” Troughear says.

“Paul’s vision for the company provided an exciting proposition in that it offered a reliable and clean method of disposal for hard to recycle waste — things we already collect and shred through our business units — and delivered a viable finished product that is much needed in the New Zealand building industry.” 

Charteris says there is a growing demand for the product because of the building materials shortage.

“For example, we have taken used Tetra Pak packaging from Fonterra and recycled Suntory coffee cups, along with Contact Energy’s redundant marketing material, to produce a saveBOARD exposed interior lining on a feature wall at Contact’s Auckland offices.

“If people buy and use our products, we can scale up and have a bigger impact. The more people buy our product, the more we can produce.

“Every board sold means 10kg less of carbon emissions, and less packaging that ends up in landfill,” Charteris says.

The saveBOARD production process uses heat and compression to bond materials, eliminating the need for glues or other chemical additives.

saveBOARD is made with zero water, zero glues and zero chemicals, and has zero VOC emissions or formaldehydes. The product provides up to a 90% reduction in carbon emissions compared with other construction boards.

saveBOARD has put systems in place to recover offcuts and end-of-life boards to be remanufactured into new board products, providing a zero waste to landfill solution.

The technology to turn waste into high performance building material was developed in the United States where it has been widely used for more than a decade.

The product was chosen by Tesla as the membrane roof substrate for its 200,000sq m gigafactory in Nevada. The Tesla roof equates to upcycling 2000 tonnes of composite plastics, and saves 336,000kg of embodied CO2 compared to using plywood.

Charteris says saveBOARD had received a A$1.74 million grant from the Australian and New South Wales Governments towards setting up a A$5 million facility in New South Wales that is scheduled to be in production this year.

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