The Packaging Forum today launched the Love NZ soft plastic recycling programme at fourteen New World, Countdown, FreshChoice, PAK’nSAVE and The Warehouse stores in Dunedin. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull joined representatives from industry, community groups and shoppers at New World, Great King Street to celebrate the launch of the programme in Dunedin. There are now around 300 stores nationwide which accept soft plastics recycling.
Lyn Mayes, Project Manager told guests:
“We are delighted to launch the soft plastics recycling programme in Dunedin and have been told that residents have been saving up their soft plastic in anticipation. Last year we recycled around 100 tonnes of soft plastic packaging equivalent to 25 million bags. This year as at 31st May, 115 Tonnes has already been collected and we are targeting 300 Tonnes by the end of the year. Cargill Enterprises will collect at stores and will work with Waste Management who will bale the materials ready for shipment to the programme's manufacturing partner Replas in Melbourne. To make this economically viable long term we encourage councils, industry and Government departments to contribute to the circular economy by buying the bollards, speed bumpers, benches, decking and bins which Replas make from Kiwis’ soft plastic waste.”
“New Zealanders use around 1.5 billion bags annually including the whole range of soft plastic food and grocery packaging such as bread bags, frozen and chilled food bags, toilet roll packaging, pasta and rice bags, confectionery and biscuit wrappers. It is important to distinguish soft plastic packaging as its own recyclable stream. Soft plastics are essential to protect and preserve our food and groceries and they are chosen by brands over other forms of packaging because it is lightweight and flexible. Single use plastic carrier bags however are a discretionary item.”
Mike Sammons, Sustainability Manager presented a Bench made from 15,000 plastic bags to Mayor Cull for Dunedin residents to enjoy.
“The scheme has brought together retailers, brands and packaging manufacturers to fund and promote the service. Our customers tell us they love its simplicity. Over the past 18 months, customers at New World and PAK’nSAVE stores have collected around 130 tonnes of soft plastic packaging which Replas has turned into furniture and other durable plastic items. We now need to create demand for these products and we will be encouraging our stores to consider buying the wheel stops and other traffic controls when they are replacing equipment.”
The $1.5 million programme has received $700,000 from the Government’s Waste Minimisation Fund. In addition to funding from The Packaging Forum and the participating retailers, the service is supported by Asaleo Care, Bluebird, Ceres, Coca Cola Amatil; Cottonsoft, Farrah’s; Farro Fresh, Fonterra, Frucor, George Weston Foods; Griffins, Goodman Fielder, Heinz Watties; Hubbards, Huckleberry, Kelloggs, Kimberly-Clark, Mars, McCains, Mondelez, Moore Wilson’s, Mother Earth, Mrs Rogers, Nestle, NZ Post, Pams, Proper Crisps, Pure Delish, Simplot, Spicers, Sunrice, Wrigley, Amcor, Coveris, Snell Packaging and Replas.