Packaging waste used in construction


New Zealand builders will soon be able to replace plywood, particle board and plaster board with low-carbon construction boards made from packaging waste such as used beverage cartons, soft plastics and coffee cups.

The technology to turn waste into high performance building material was developed in the US 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 factory in Nevada.

The waste-to-building material technology is being brought to New Zealand by saveBOARD, a new venture backed by Freightways, Tetra Pak and Closed Loop. The first New Zealand saveBOARD plant will be at Te Rapa near Hamilton and its first production run is scheduled for late 2021. The plant is projected save up to 4000 tonnes of waste from landfill every year. Twelve new jobs will be created initially, with more expected as the project grows.

The company will manufacture an impact resistant board with similar performance to plywood, OSB (oriented strand board) and particle board that can be used for interior and exterior applications. Using proven, patented technology which has been operating for over 12 years, the material is upcycled from waste into affordable, high performance, low carbon building materials. Co-founder and CEO Paul Charteris says making high-performance low carbon building materials using 100 percent recycled materials from everyday waste is a gamechanger for the construction industry in New Zealand. “It will enhance the construction industry’s drive towards more sustainable construction practices.”

The organisation is negotiating to receive waste material from large food and beverage companies.

Closed Loop managing director Rob Pascoe says saveBOARD products will be the lowest carbon footprint interior and exterior board products on the market.  “It’s the perfect example of the circular economy in action.”


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