More than 177 tonnes of virgin plastic will no longer be imported into New Zealand each year, with Countdown moving dozens of its bakery and delicatessen items to locally sourced recycled PET (rPET) packaging.
Flight Plastics Ltd, which is New Zealand owned and operated and based in Wellington, will now be providing 19 rPET packaging products for Countdown’s in-store bakeries and delicatessen.
The announcement was made at an event hosted by Countdown to discuss the challenges and opportunities associated with building a circular economy.
Countdown’s General Manager Corporate Affairs, Kiri Hannifin, said the move to use Flight Plastics’ products is positive news for the environment.
“Countdown is looking for any, and all, opportunities to do our bit to protect New Zealand’s precious environment - using more recycled plastic products and introducing less virgin plastic into circulation is just one way we can do this.
“Flight Plastics have invested significant time, energy and resource into producing innovative packaging solutions that are better for our environment. We are proud to be working with them and using their products in our stores.”
“We’re delighted that Countdown will now be using New Zealand recycled plastic in its bakeries. These products made at Flight Plastics won’t need disposal after use – they can be recycled again and again as customers return them via their recycle bin," said CEO of Flight Plastics, Keith Smith. Hannifin hopes the announcement comes as positive news for the recycling industry.
"New Zealand’s waste management infrastructure is under pressure, with recycling being stockpiled and limited onshore solutions. Countdown's starting point is to, wherever we can reduce unnecessary packaging, particularly single-use packaging. However, where we do need it, for example, to meet food safety standards, we need to be a lot more purposeful and thoughtful in what we use. There may be different solutions going forward but at the moment using New Zealand sourced rPET is a great option for us.
“It's also a perfect example of what a circular economy approach looks like in practice. Flight Plastics source their plastic from the New Zealand waste stream. This means we not only avoid new plastic coming into New Zealand but we can help take pressure off the waste stream and avoid plastic ending up in the landfill. rPet can be used again and again and this is much more desirable than it being recovered once,” said Ms Hannifin.
The new recycled rPET products will start appearing in Countdown stores from August 2018 and will play an important role in Countdown’s drive to deliver 100% reusable, recyclable, and compostable packaging by 2025.