The projects that Sustainable Initiatives Fund Trust funds vary in size, funding, length of the project and type of project. Some are grants with an educational focus or a research focus and others are loans for machinery. We also have projects where we take an equity stake in the business for the funding we give. Below is a selection of some past and current projects that we have funded. Due to commercial sensitivities, IP protection or projects that aren't quite ready for the world to know about them there are some projects that we can't quite discuss yet but will update this page when we can.
SCAPE 2010 Christchurch Biennial - Cancelled
This year SIFT is supporting the SCAPE Christchurch Biennial - a showcase of art in Christchurch city (postponed till this year due to last year's earthquake). The range of temporary and permanent artworks that will be in the central city will provide a great opportunity, post earthquakes and building demolition to discuss urban regeneration, sustainability and how to rebuild our cities for the future.
We are providing a small grant for the part build of Joanna Langford's temporary artwork High Country made out of recyclable materials - silage wrap and plastic milk bottles as well as providing $5,000 towards a primary and intermediate schools Recyclable City Art competition and childrens' workshops at the SCAPE Hub in the Cathedral Square. Using art to highlight an issue (in this case waste) as well as education (through the competition and the workshops) is a great tool for raising awareness of that issue and the possible solutions. This grant will have wide reach through out the community and hopefully will make a few stop and think about the waste that they produce while at the same time enjoying great local artists. A walk through the city enjoying these artworks is also a great excuse to support business in the CBD affected by the earthquakes.
More information on this project can be found here with details of the primary schools' competition and childrens' workshops. Photos of Joanna Langford's High Country will be posted to the SIFT website as soon as she has completed the build.
Untouched World Charitable Trust Tiromoana Programme (2010)
SIFT has been a long time supporter of the Untouched World Charitable Trust's Tiromoana Programme and in 2010 we continued that support with a $10,000 grant to go towards the costs of the programme. The Untouched World Charitable Trust's Tiromoana programme is a week long intensive camp for a small group of 16-17 year olds. Called ‘There is no such place as away’ the students quickly learn through personal experience that when you consume there is waste and where there is waste there is landfill and/or recovery of that waste in some form. As well as consumption they also learn about the lifecycles of products that they use and what happens when they throw those items out. At the end of the week they present their ideas on how to solve certain issues like reducing waste to landfill, encouraging community gardening and composting and recycling more effeciently. This year SIFT also asked for the development of a legacy item such as a resource kit based on what the students' learnt that could be accessed by a wider group of schools and students. Once this has been completed this will be available on the SIFT website. This is a great programme that has far wider benefits than just opening up the eyes and awareness of the students - they will take this new knowledge back with them into their families, schools and communities and maybe (as other ex-programme participants have done) become solution providers for a healthier future environment. You can read more about this project here.
Recycled Baleage Wrap From Farms (2008 and 2010)
Sustainable Initiatives Fund provided early-stage funding to Agpac Ltd to fund the development of a wash plant that cleans baleage wrap and silage pit covers before shredding then recycling them into stackable recycling bins for farm use.
Agpac conducted trials with Sustainable Initiatives Fund as part of their research and development work. This was an important producer-responsibility initiative, taking the lead in a voluntary national product stewardship scheme.
In late 2009 the Sustainable Initiatives Fund provided a grant for Agpac to implement an educational campaign to farmers about their voluntary product stewardship scheme, Plasback, which through on farm collections recycles agricultural plastics such as baleage wrap and HDPE containers. In May 2010, the Plasback Product Stewardship Scheme gained national accreditation from the New Zealand government making it the first product stewardship scheme for the agricultural sector.
Plastic Milk Bottle Recycling (2009 and ongoing)
In July 2009, SIFT signed an agreement with Comspec, in Hornby, to provide a $200,000 loan to buy a machine that will wash and then chip up to 500 tonnes a week of High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) plastic milk bottles from South Island recycling sources. Until recently, most plastic milk bottles were sent to China, but China is now reluctant to take unwashed bottles, significantly reducing the tonnage that can be sent offshore. (Hong Kong is the only port that takes unwashed plastic bottles). The chipped plastic is granulated, compounded into pellets and then reused to manufacture onshore into rigid plastic products such as irrigation pipes.
Comspec, which already recycles other flexible and rigid plastics, has a large plant capable of handling the additional tonnage from existing low density polyethylene. It is one of the first plants of its type in New Zealand and the only one in the South Island. You can read more about SIFT's funding of a plastic recycling machine here.
Tech Design Ltd - Removing electroplating waste (2010)
The Sustainable Initiatives Fund Trust provided local firm, Tech Design and Consultancy Ltd, with a $5,000 grant to assist with a feasibility study, prototype trials and patent searches for their heavy metal filtration system, carried out in 2010. The focus of the project was to determine the effectiveness of using a modified wool copolymer product to filter out heavy metals that are commonly discharged into the rinse water stream from the electroplating industry. In Christchurch, the waste currently enters the Bromley sludge ponds, or is deposited into the ocean via offshore pipelines.
This project is important in that it is about reducing the harmful effects of toxic heavy metals on Canterbury’s waste water system and surrounding ecosystems. Once the wastewater goes down the drain it still ends up somewhere (as sludge which goes to landfill or into the ocean) no matter how diluted and that will have a negative impact on the environment. And the heavy metals are a resource that could be recovered for reuse as well, reducing our need to import more. Read more here.
Crushed Recycled Glass To Boost Grape Harvest (2006-2010)
As the result of Sustainable Initiatives Fund taking a lead role in seed co-funding with other contributors through smart public-private partnerships, Sandihurst Winery, just outside Christchurch, has run a four-year trial of spreading crushed recycled glass round the base of vines. Results so far show the crushed glass has improved soil moisture retention, grape cluster weight, ripening and weed suppression.
The glass is the size of coffee sugar crystals and is safe to touch. The clever reuse of glass is a world first, and won an award at Environmental Packaging Awards for innovative use of surplus waste container glass (jars and bottles).
If it proves successful, it could have much wider application to southern wineries and other horticultural crops, and significantly reduce the glass waste stream.
Waste Wool Recycled Into Building Insulation (2005-2010)
Sustainable Initiatives Fund has provided funding for the last five years to Terra Lana Products to purchase machinery to process waste wool (from carpet processing and other waste) into building insulation. Originally developed with WRONZ (now AgResearch), the insulation meets stringent building codes. Since February 2004, Terra Lana has installed over 130,000 m2of wool insulation into 1300 Christchurch homes through their successful tender in the ECan Clean Heat project and a $23 million joint venture under the EECA Warm Homes Scheme. The insulation is also widely used in industrial buildings, including Northlands Mall and wineries, and recycles around 700 tonnes of wool waste a year. Next steps include finding other ways of increasing production through blended waste fibres to meet the growing need of building insulation and healthy homes.
Plastic Waste Research Project (2009)
The research aimed to find out how much industrial and domestic plastic packaging is recycled. It revealed that more than three-quarters of New Zealand’s plastic packaging ends up in the landfill, most of it from industrial waste. These findings led us to lobby for a working party to address industrial and commercial packaging waste, standardise identification of plastics in New Zealand (since over half of our packaging is imported), lessen the reliance on international markets through onshore recycling, and reduce our growing dependence on degradable plastics. We also initiated a public competition to find ways of recycling polystyrene meat trays (the worst offender). You can read more about the research in the executive summary here (pdf).
Algae to Biofuels (2007-2009)
Solray Energy Ltd in conjunction with the National Institute of Water and Air (NIWA), the University of Canterbury and the Christchurch City Council (CCC) recently launched the project to produce and commercialise the production of oil and biofuels by cultivating algae in the Bromley oxidation ponds and diverting hazardous bio-solid waste from landfill. For some time engineers and scientists from the University of Canterbury have been working on the early stages of this project, which SIFT was involved in. The project demonstrates a workable environmental public-private partnership.
SIFT funded the early stage proof of concept mini trials at the Bromley Sewage Treatment plant (run by CCC) over the past three years plus the business case for algae and financial due diligence for Solray Energy Ltd.
The methods involved in the trial project are a world first, copying at high-speed what occurs in the natural environment. The unique IP is in the special converters which convert, in a giant pressure-cooker-like process, algal sludge into oil and other useful by-products. Large amounts of activated bio-solids are therefore able to be diverted from landfill as well as producing clean water through environmental clean up systems. The technology has global potential.