Second Life Plastics (2LP) is a Horowhenua-based manufacturer of quality products with an environmental point of difference - all their items are created from waste plastic sourced from local businesses.
However, co-owner Fred Mecoy wants to make one thing clear - this does not mean the business is a general recycler and they do not offer a public drop-off facility.
"We are manufacturers who make products from recycled plastic ... we do not want businesses or people showing up here with truckloads of waste," Mecoy said,
" ... we only need the type and quantity of plastic that we can make use of."
Second Life Plastics was originally set up in Ōtaki in the 1980s but went into receivership a number of times.
When Mecoy and his business partner, Leo Goodman, bought the business back in 2014, there were four staff - they now employ 18 staff to create commercial products out of waste plastic that would otherwise be heading to landfill or overseas.
According to Mecoy, Goodman is the genius who keeps the business's machines operating, "... and, since most of them are quite old, he's kept pretty busy!"
2LP has produced thousands of products over the past seven years, made from the 20 to 25 tonnes of plastic waste they purchase from local businesses and other recycling companies each week.
They mainly recycle LDPE type 4 (eg pallet wrap, scaffold wrap, timber wrap, etc) and HDPE type 2 (eg milk bottles, 20l containers etc).
Far less energy is required than manufacturing with virgin plastic and, since the business focuses on sourcing locally, the carbon footprint produced is as small as possible.
The plastic waste is put into an extrusion machine - like a giant kitchen blender - which chops the material up while generating heat and starting to melt the product.
Before the plastic completely melts, the operator dowses it with cold water which splits it apart and into little beads the size of peas, making the manufacturing process easier.
Different plastics melt at different rates so staff need to constantly monitor the temperature of the processing machines and the product itself.
Contamination of the waste plastic can be an issue - if it is dirty, coloured or printed that can impact the manufacture of the new items, making moulding difficult and ultimately producing a weaker product.
The majority of the items the business manufactures are marketed to New Zealanders - very few are exported as most are quite bulky and the cost of shipping is prohibitive.
Products include a range of underground cable covers, used widely by electricians and cable-layers; garden edging; mats that provide a sure footing in wet areas; and an anti-fatigue mat, ideal for factories and retail environments.
One of the items the company has trademarked is their "Tuff Buckets", which are made from recycled plastic such as disused bread crates, wheelie bins and plastic pallets. They even make the handles from recycled plastic.
"... there is no comparison to the $1 buckets you can get from your local bargain store," said Mecoy, "ours will last you many years."
2LP also create sheets of recycled plastic that they sell to other manufacturers, such as companies that make mudguards for tyres, and then get the remnants from those items back to reprocess into other products.
The plastic sheets have also been used to help create water slides, such as the one at El Rancho Christian Camp in Waikanae.
Goodman and Mecoy are proud of what Second Life Plastics is achieving, not only in the environmental sense, but also as local employers.
"A number of our staff hadn't worked for a while, or had been made redundant from previous jobs, so we have worked closely with Winz to get these men on board," Mecoy said.
Mecoy is only aware of one other business in New Zealand that utilises recycled plastic the way 2LP does - a foreign-owned, Auckland-based company.