Coffee cups become new houses in recycling construction development

New Zealand's about to build a ton of new homes and some of them could be made with recycled materials such as coffee cups and soft plastics.

saveBOARD cladding at the Zero Waste Bistro in New York. Source: Supplied

On Tuesday, the Government announced a raft of measures intended to cool the housing crisis, which would see up to 130,000 homes built in the next 20 years.

Today, a production company announced a new waste-to-building material technology, originally developed in the US, is coming to New Zealand.

The first saveBOARD plant will be in Te Rapa, near Hamilton, the company says.

It says it'll recycle packaging waste such as coffee cups, soft plastics and used drink cartons into a construction material similar to plywood or particle board, which can then be used to build new houses.

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Builders are reporting a shortage in timber and basic supplies that are being held up at the border. Source: Seven Sharp

"It will enhance the construction industry’s drive towards more sustainable construction practices," saveBOARD CEO and co-founder Paul Charteris says, calling it a "game-changer".

He estimates it'll save around 4000 tonnes of waste from landfill each year and says they're negotiating with "large food and beverage companies" to receive waste material.

The construction boards can also be recycled themselves at the end of their lives, turned into new products, the developers say.

The venture is a joint partnership between Freightways, which operates a number of courier services in New Zealand; global food processing and packaging giant Tetra Pak; and Australian upcycling developers Closed Loop.

saveBOARD product samples. Source: Supplied

“It is more than just an investment for us. It is the right thing to do — to help limit waste to landfill and support a technology that improves local waste collection and recycling infrastructure," Tetra Pak Oceania manager director Andrew Pooch says.

The developers say the boards meet all obligations under section 14G of the Building Act.