Health New Zealand has initiated the disposal of around 51 million expired Covid-19 personal protective equipment (PPE) items and rapid antigen tests (RATs).

Contracted to Enviro New Zealand the process will convert approximately 65 percent of these expired supplies into alternative fuels, garden and playground wood chips, and recycled materials. The disposal involves co-processing the majority of the items with wood waste and tyres to create a coal substitute fuel for cement production, while other materials will be recycled into products like slip sheets and decking.

The entire disposal process is expected to take four months and will handle 8,000 pallets of items.

Dr Nick Chamberlain director of the National Public Health Service told state media the surplus stock resulted from the need to purchase large volumes during unpredictable pandemic conditions. The competitive tendering process selected Enviro NZ for their proven track record in sustainable landfill management, he said. Despite the high volume of expired supplies, Health New Zealand maintains a 12-week PPE reserve for future ‘pandemic preparedness’.

This article was originally published by Daily Telegraph New Zealand.

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