The Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme will resume collections at 37 locations across the Auckland region. The recycling bins will be available at selected Countdown, The Warehouse, and Huckleberry stores.
Malcolm Everts, Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme Chair, said they are very pleased to be re-commencing the service, knowing they now have local processors and scheme partners working together to recycle and reduce soft plastic waste.
“When we suspended collections late last year, we said we needed to reshape the model to balance how much we collect with New Zealand’s local capacity to process soft plastic materials. We should not be dependent on off-shore processors alone. Recycling can only work if processors can turn the collected materials into new valuable products which are purchased and used by local business and community. This is a challenge facing New Zealand and global recycling efforts.
“We have chosen the Auckland region for the re-start as it is close to Future Post, which is converting our soft plastic into plastic fence posts and allows us to provide a drop-off service to around a third of all New Zealanders.
“Once we have established collection volumes, we will look at extending services in the Waikato and/or Wellington regions, in proximity to our processors. Manufacturers, retailers and consumers are all looking at ways to reduce their plastic consumption and we are also aware of other processing initiatives which could increase processing capacity in the future.
“During the collection service’s hiatus, the scheme processed an estimated 14 million individual pieces of plastic packaging at New Zealand processors - Future Post and 2nd Life Plastics – that would have otherwise gone to landfill. These two processors use soft plastics to make fence posts, cable covers and garden edging.
“Both Future Post and 2nd Life Plastics are great examples of Kiwi ingenuity and we are working with them and our members to increase demand for their products. To have a sustainable circular economy where waste materials are re-processed into new valuable products and commodities, we need industry, councils and government departments to start buying products which are made from our recycling efforts.
“The plastic bag ban is having an impact on waste volume, and we know many Kiwis are already actively seeking ways to reduce their plastic usage or to re-use their plastic bags and containers and we support that. That’s why we’re continuing to work with our members to assist with their packaging choices.”