A Levin manufacturer is giving a second life to more than 25 tonnes of plastic bags, milk bottles and broken wheelie bins every week.

Second Life Plastics (2LP) is a plastic recycler and manufacturer that takes waste plastic from local businesses and uses it to make a range of useful products.

The business opened in the 1980s but went into receivership a number of times.

Co-owners Fred Mecoy and Leo Goodman bought the business four years ago and have grown it from five employees to 13. They out-grew their Otaki premises and moved to Levin.

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Mr Mecoy said plastic recycling is a tough business and they are often competing with multinationals.

They recycle timber framing wrap from a local business, plastic bags and milk bottles from a recycling plant in Awapuni.

Dig Stop, an underground cable cover used widely by electricians and cable-layers, produced from recycled plastics at 2LP in Levin.
Dig Stop, an underground cable cover used widely by electricians and cable-layers, produced from recycled plastics at 2LP in Levin.

Milk bottles were collected kerbside, sorted and bailed up before arriving in Levin.

In July China banned imports of 24 types of rubbish, as part of a campaign against "foreign garbage and environmental pollution," and some of that plastic is now being purchased by 2LP.

"They were selling to China and now they are selling to us," he said.

"We like to get our plastic locally because it keeps our carbon footprint as low as possible."

Plastic arrives at 2LP, contaminants are removed, it's put it onto a conveyer belt and chopped up. The chopping action generates heat that starts to melt the plastic. But just before it melts, the operator dowses it with cold water which splits plastic apart, and into little beads the size of peas, making it easier to process.

Tiny beads of black dye are added to the mix, turning the plastic black as it's melted down and transformed into products.A former diver and "greenie," he said that there is a feel-good factor to the business.

"I spent many years diving in locations all around the world," he said.

"The one thing I hated to see was plastic in the oceans, so in some small way we are able to prevent some of that plastic."

He said that there is a misunderstanding that shopping bags can't be recycled, however 2LP has shown that to be wrong.

Dig Stop — underground cable cover used widely by electricians and cable-layers, Tuff Buckets sold at hardware stores, Grip Step plastic mats for cow and milking sheds, Stand Easy anti-fatigue mat, ducting pipe for running cables underground made of mild bottles, waterslides and custom plastic sheets are just some of the products 2LP makes.

He said they have a few new product ideas in the works and hope to focus more time on creating them.

"We are a small business so we don't get a lot of spare time.

"Often our days are taken up with getting our immediate production requirements out the door or fixing machines that break down or all the other millions of thing you have to do when you are running a small business," he said. "But we have some ideas we are working on. Hopefully we will be taking on more staff to free our time up to play some more with those ideas."

2LP is not a public facility. It is a private business and can only recycle certain plastics. Do not dump recycling there.