Whanganui's Pak 'n Save supermarket is now using recyclable plastic trays instead of black polystyrene ones to package fish, meat and bakery products.

The change was made at the beginning of October and Gareth Jones, owner-operator of the Victoria Avenue store, said it was prompted by customers desire for packaging they could recycle.

The new trays get the thumbs up from Whanganui Resource Recovery Centre manager Ramari Te Uamairangi.

"Polystyrene is not an environmentally friendly product - it's very hard to dispose of and there's no market for it," she said.


The centre doesn't accept black polystyrene trays at all. When staff see people leaving them they explain why - and fewer and fewer people now bring them.

When polystene does get left at the centre it can't be recycled and has to go to landfill, with the centre paying the cost.

Mr Jones said the plastic trays his supermarket now uses are made of 50 per cent recycled plastic and they can be recycled again.

Pak 'n Save is part of the Foodstuffs supermarket chain which is proud to package 80 per cent of its fresh food in plastic rather than polystyrene. A few polystyrene trays are still used, because plastic trays are not available in some sizes yet.

Foodstuffs sustainability manager Mike Sammons said the recyclable trays were launched in August last year and had now been introduced to all New World and Pak 'n Save stores, replacing 80 per cent of the non-recyclable foam trays.

The project is part of a wider commitment to transition all the stores' packaging to be 100 per cent recyclable - either through kerbside collections or back at the store, he said.