A long-awaited soft plastic recycling scheme has launched in Hawke's Bay.
The soft plastic recycling scheme run by The Packaging Forum allows items such as bread bags, fruit and vegetable bags, frozen food bags and plastic wrappers of items such as biscuits and chips.
"Basically anything that can be scrunched," The Packaging Forum CEO Rob Langford said.
Soft plastic recycling bins will now be located at participating Warehouses, Countdowns, Pak'nSaves and New Worlds in Napier, Hastings and Waipukurau.
Napier mayor Kirsten Wise said at the launch in The Warehouse Hastings, that the soft plastic recycling bins are "something our community has been wanting and demanding for a very long time".
The soft plastics recycling scheme by The Packaging Forum has been operating since 2015 and is already in Auckland, Waiheke Island, Taranaki, Northland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty, Christchurch and Wellington.
Langford said the ambition of the scheme is to get to at least 80 per cent coverage of New Zealand, so Hawke's Bay was identified as "the next biggest opportunity".
"The community of Hawke's Bay has been asking for it, it just seemed the appropriate time to bring it in."
He said the reason it has taken this long to come to the region is due to supply and demand.
"We want to make sure that whatever material is collected is absolutely going to be repurposed and reused."
The collected plastic is recycled at the Future Post plant in Waiuku, South Auckland where they are turned into fence posts and garden boxes.
The garden boxes take about 20,000 bags and wrappers to be made.
Future Post founder Jerome Wenzlick said that the bins have a capacity of 1500 bags and wrappers, the same number are needed for one fence post.
At the launch Wenzlick said in the next year or two there was the possibility of a manufacturing plant in Hawke's Bay.
"We've got a lot of posts down here, we've got the waste here, so it almost makes sense to put a manufacturing plant down here."
The Warehouse sustainability manager Yi You said since the first launching in Warehouse stores in 2015, close to 15.5 million individual units of soft plastic, equating to nearly 70 tonnes have been collected and diverted from landfill.
Hawke's Bay soft plastic recycling locations:
The Warehouse Napier
The Warehouse Hastings
Countdown Munroe St and Countdown Carlyle St, Napier
New World Havelock North
New World Waipukurau
More locations will join over the coming weeks.