Ever felt the frustration of not being able to put plastic wrap into your recycling bin? The reason is that it jams the equipment at the recycling sorting plant. If you're the person who bags up your recycling in shopping bags and drops the whole thing into the recycling bin, know that the whole lot ends up in landfill due to the presence of the plastic bag.
Come Labour Day, things are going to change. A partnership between The Packaging Forum and government and called the REDcycle Program, will see collection points for these plastics at New World and PAK 'n' SAVE supermarkets and The Warehouse. The collection will start first in Auckland, and then roll out to Hamilton to include Countdown and Briscoes stores, with further expansion to Wellington, Canterbury, Otago, Bay of Plenty and other regions over the next three years.
The contract for collection in Auckland has been given to the abilities group, which employs over 130 people with disabilities.
The project involves brands across all the different soft plastic bag types - bread bags, frozen food bags, confectionery wrap, pasta and rice bags, toilet paper packaging, sanitary hygiene packaging and courier envelopes - basically any soft packaging that can be scrunched in a ball.
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Birds Eye, Cottonsoft, Goodman Fielder, Huggies, Kleenex, Nestle, New Zealand Post, Pams, SunRice, Astron, Elldex Plastics and Replas will all bring their support to promotions by the major retailers to help familiarise shoppers with this new type of recycling.
Once a container load of bales has been gathered the plastic is shipped to the Replas factory in Australia where it's pelletised and moulded into plastic profiles, used in the construction of furniture, or custom moulded into seating and other installations.