Management guru Peter Drucker famously said “if you can’t measure it, you can’t manage it”.

This thinking was behind 3R’s decision to start measuring our carbon footprint in 2008. After 6 years of ‘going it alone’, we took the step of seeking external validation through Enviro-Mark Solution’s CEMARS certification programme.


Abby Baylis, Barb Nicolle and Michelle Duncan all worked on the CEMARS certification process.

With sustainability at the very heart of our vision and business activities, it was only logical to take this the next step, showing that we’re serious about scrutinising our own impact on the environment.

In late February, following a 5 month process, 3R was delighted to become CEMARS certified, a standard that sits very comfortably alongside our ISO 14001 Environmental certification.

The resulting figures show that 3R activities produce 404 tonnes of CO2 annually. To put it in perspective, 404 tonnes is the equivalent of 85 passenger vehicles on the road for the year or would fill 86 Olympic swimming pools.

This volume includes emissions from 3R activities and those from the programmes we manage, including Agrecovery Rural Recycling, Resene PaintWise and the Dulux Paint and Packaging Take Back programme. Unsurprisingly, diesel use from collection activities makes up 74% of our result, followed a distant 2nd and 3rd by road freight and domestic air travel.

So now what? Well, as Drucker said, now we can actually manage those emissions!

Our primary aim is to reduce our emissions intensity metric (tonnes of CO2e per NZ$m of turnover) by 20% by 2020. A secondary intensity metric looks at the tonnes of CO2e per tonne of material collected by the programmes we manage. Again, our reduction target here is 20% by 2020. These allow us to grow both our business and our recovery rates while still reducing our relative carbon footprint.

A key project in this reduction programme is our new granulator trailer unit. Developed by the team at 3R alongside Omahu Machinery in Hastings, this granulator will replace the current 3R mobile processing truck which shreds container plastic from the Agrecovery programme. Among other efficiencies, the unit gives us significantly increased shredding and transport capacity so we use less diesel per tonne of plastic collected for recycling.

Alongside this is the establishment of our South Island processing base which saves significant freight in transporting recovered materials from the South to the North Island and therefore further reduces our emissions.

Posted by Michelle Duncan

Want to know more?

If you’re thinking about going down the CEMARS path feel free to give Michelle a call on 0508 374 768, read the sustainability page on our website, or talk to the helpful people at Enviro-Mark Solutions.