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22 April 2022 | Sustainability

The Warehouse Group joins forces to make soft plastics recycling more convenient

The Warehouse Group has partnered with NZ Post, The Packaging Forum and Future Post in a pilot trial which expands on the Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme, by offering Kiwis a courier pick-up of their discarded soft plastics.

Customers can purchase a NZ Post pre-paid Soft Plastic Recycle Courier bag from The Warehouse, Warehouse Stationery or TheMarket.com and can book a courier for pick-up to dispose of soft plastics including produce bags, frozen food bags, bread, rice and pasta bags and more. Once collected by a NZ Post courier, the soft plastics are sent to Waiuku-based business Future Post who recycles them into fence posts.

David Benattar, Chief Sustainability Officer at The Warehouse Group says the new soft plastics recycling service is an important step towards giving all Kiwis access to convenient recycling solutions.

“We’re focussed on making it as easy as possible for our customers to recycle, and through this new initiative, anyone can pick up a pre-paid courier bag at any one of our The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery stores nationwide or online, as well as TheMarket.com, take them back home or to the office and fill with their soft plastics and NZ Post will do the rest.”

The soft plastics courier bags are in addition to the soft plastics recycling bins located at 31The Warehouse locations across New Zealand. Since August 2019, over 15 million pieces of individual plastic have been collected through the participating store network.

Lyn Mayes, Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme Manager, says the partnership is a way to expand the scheme to communities who do not have access to a soft plastic recycling bin, or those who are unable to get to their local store to drop off their soft plastics.

“People have been asking us (The Packaging Forum) about whether they can post their soft plastics, so we are delighted to launch this service.

“The soft plastics will be collected from NZ Post, baled by Abilities Group and then dropped off at Future Post for recycling,” Mayes says.

Dawn Baggaley, Group Sustainability Officer at NZ Post Group says the price of the bag covers various costs involved to run the programme, from production through to transporting customers soft plastics to their end destination.

“We’re helping create a circular economy by using plastics that would otherwise have gone to landfill,” Baggaley says.

Jerome Wenzlick, Managing Director and farmer at Future Post says the process of turning soft plastics into fence posts is like “cooking.”

“There’s definitely a bit of a recipe to it and we did a lot of homework to make sure we got the recipe right,” Wenzlick said.

With processing machinery specifically designed and made in New Zealand, Wenzlick says the soft plastic packaging is granulated into small chips and put through an extruder before being moulded into fence posts. It takes approximately 1500 bags to make one standard fence post and the factory can produce around 800 posts a day.

The pre-paid recycle courier bags retail for $7 each and are available from The Warehouse,Warehouse Stationery and TheMarket.com from 22 April.

For more information on the scheme please visit: https://www.recycling.kiwi.nz/solutions/soft-plast...

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