Wellington Scoop

Recycling (not landfill) for concrete from demolished council flats

L-r: Councillor Laurie Foon, John McDonald (WCC Housing Development Manager), Mayor Andy Foster, Thomas Marchant (CentrePort) and Anthony Delaney (CentrePort General Manager Regeneration).

News from WCC
Concrete from earthquake-prone social housing flats being demolished by the Wellington City Council will be recycled, instead of going to landfill.

The earthquake-prone flats at Nairn St have been empty since April 2017, when tenants moved to other housing in the city.

In a first for the Council, the demolished concrete will be taken to CentrePort where it will be crushed and made into gravel and used for regeneration work at the port, and by roading contractors for footpath renewal work in the city.

Trial runs have been done to ensure the concrete is suitable for recycling, and around 50 truckloads (320 cubic metres) have already been taken to CentrePort. In addition to concrete from the site, metal and window frames from the 15 former units are also being recycled.

Mayor Andy Foster says the concrete recycling initiative lines-up with the Council’s Te Atakura – First to Zero blueprint for the city to become carbon zero.

“This concrete will be diverted from landfill and will contribute to lowering of carbon emissions by reducing concrete production. As a Council we’re pleased to partner with CentrePort to walk the talk and factor in protection of our environment and climate change in our decision-making.”

The Council’s Waste Minimisation portfolio lead Councillor Laurie Foon says it’s exciting to see the Council taking a lead in reducing its waste footprint.

“Saving concrete from the landfill and turning it into a valuable resource is just the beginning of Wellington’s circular economy journey. Regionally we’ve committed to drop our waste output by a third before 2026, and clever ideas are the only way we are going to get there. Stepping up to partner with CentrePort is a great example of this.”

CentrePort General Manager Regeneration Anthony Delaney says their award-winning waste minimisation project has been running for over two years, recycling 35,800 cubic metres of concrete to date.

“Sustainability is a fundamental principle of CentrePort’s regeneration, and in addition to recycling our own waste, we’ve started partnering this year with external organisations to help them recycle.

“We’re delighted that the Wellington City Council is one of the founding organisations to join us on this partnership, and we welcome their commitment to environmental sustainability in this way.”

The Council will consider other opportunities to recycle suitable concrete on a case-by-case basis.


  1. Micky, 22. November 2019, 11:45

    It’s good that the Council are recycling the concrete. But recycling demolished buildings has nothing to do with the Council’s “carbon zero” agenda.
    And it was not good that the poor were kicked out of their usable flats two years ago. It begs the question why they have not fully replaced all the public housing stock – and what is planned for the Nairn Street location.

  2. Andy Foster, 23. November 2019, 7:30

    Hi Micky – The flats were EQP and it was determined that it was better to demolish and replace – also allowing us to increase the number of dwellings on the site – than to strengthen and refurbish.

    In terms of carbon zero – cement production has a huge carbon footprint – this from the BBC:

    “Concrete is the most widely used man-made material in existence. It is second only to water as the most-consumed resource on the planet. But, while cement – the key ingredient in concrete – has shaped much of our built environment, it also has a massive carbon footprint. Cement is the source of about 8% of the world’s carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, according to think tank Chatham House. If the cement industry were a country, it would be the third largest emitter in the world – behind China and the US. It contributes more CO2 than aviation fuel (2.5%) and is not far behind the global agriculture business (12%).”

    Kind regards, Andy

  3. Spongebob, 23. November 2019, 7:31

    About time, this has been happening for years in Europe. I had a friend from Germany question why the c & d landfill had doubled in size since the 2016 quake. He said that Germany recycles almost 100 percent of demolished buildings and tips are struggling to remain open due to the amount of recycling initiatives.

  4. Barney Bubble, 23. November 2019, 9:22

    Andy – why were you opposed to renovating the Gordon Wilson Flats to provide social housing for students etc?

  5. Richard Moore, 23. November 2019, 11:01

    Solutions like this would happen so much more if WCC was not focused on or believed it needed to extend the life of its Southern Landfill and the emissions profile it generates, emissions huge compared to the savings in emissions promoted here (and yet not a mention of the landfill extension in this article?) How is the Wellington region doing in terms of progress towards the ten year 33% waste reduction target as the article does say only 7 years left? So much more to do… [via facebook]

  6. Marion Leader, 23. November 2019, 12:34

    The landfill problem is just the sort of thing that newly elected councillors with a life expectancy of at least another seventy years should get involved with.
    There are at least two of them with a minimum of a seventy-year stake in the future so I hope that at least one of them can begin getting involved with this.

  7. Manny, 24. November 2019, 14:54

    Recycling is good and can easily be done without adopting a race to zero carbon (whatever that means).

  8. Kay W, 4. December 2019, 14:37

    Andy if you want to reduce landfill by not contributing to it please stop printing WCC’s “Our Wellington” booklets. We already have a non waste producing online events page for people who want that information.