Postal recycling program to turn soft plastics into fence posts

Couriers will collect soft plastics for recycling into fence posts in a trial by NZ Post.

The postman has partnered with The Packaging Forum and Future Post to offer New Zealanders courier pickup of their discarded soft plastics.

During the trial, consumers could purchase and fill a special prepaid courier bag with soft plastics, including bread bags, courier bags, bubble wrap and dry pet food bags.

A courier could then be booked for pick up as usual.

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The plastic would be sent to Waiuku Future Post to be made into fence posts.

Couriers will collect soft plastics for recycling into fence posts in a trial by NZ Post.

Provided

Couriers will collect soft plastics for recycling into fence posts in a trial by NZ Post.

“Supporting this project and making it easier for Kiwis to recycle their soft plastics aligns perfectly with NZ Post’s own sustainable packaging goals,” said Dawn Baggaley, NZ Post Group Head of Sustainability.

Future Post general manager and farmer Jerome Wenzlick said the process of turning soft plastics into fence posts was like cooking.

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

Machines designed and manufactured in New Zealand are used to process the flexible plastic wrap into small chips, which are then passed through an extruder and molded into fence posts.

About 1500 bags went into each standard fence post and the Future Post factory could manufacture about 800 posts per day.

The $7 prepaid bags would be available at select NZ Post, New World, The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery stores from April 22.

Although courier bags are also made from plastic, a lot of thought has gone into minimizing their impact on the environment, NZ Post said.

Approximately 1500 bags fit into each standard fence post manufactured by Future Post.

Provided

Approximately 1500 bags fit into each standard fence post manufactured by Future Post.

Each bag was made from 80% recycled plastic and could hold up to three weeks of soft plastic waste from an average household.

The emissions from their collection would also be offset, making it carbon neutral.

The mail collection will span the Soft Plastic Recycling Programa voluntary product stewardship program run by The Packaging Forum.

Soft plastic recycling program manager Lyn Mayes said the partnership opens the program to communities without access to a soft plastic recycling bin and to those unable to drop off their soft plastics.

Warehouse Group’s sustainability director, David Benattar, said the service was a step towards providing all New Zealanders with access to convenient recycling solutions.

“We strive to make recycling as easy as possible for our customers. With this new initiative, anyone can pick up a prepaid mail bag, take it home or to the office and fill it with their soft plastics and NZ Post will do the rest,” Benattar said.

Mike Sammons, sustainability manager at operator New World Foodstuffs New Zealand, said the pilot was another way the company was encouraging customers to reduce their packaging waste.

“We want to do everything we can to help our customers reduce their packaging waste and providing this recycling service to our customers based in more remote locations and to our online shoppers is another important piece of the puzzle,” a- he declared.


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