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Patoa Farms . . . Diana Jamieson, National Sales Account Manager for Future Post, with Tjaart GrovPost. PHOTO: SUPPLIED

By ROBYN BRISTOW

A novel way of dealing with a challenging waste problem has been launched by NZ Post, Future Posts and the Packaging Forum.

The three have teamed up to turn soft plastic into fence posts.

The three month pilot offers kiwis an opportunity for a courier pick-up service for their discarded soft plastics.

It comes at the cost of a $7 Soft Plastic Recycling courier bag, which covers the cost of the courier pick-up, and is large enough for about three weeks of soft plastics for an average family.

NZ Post Group Sustainability Manager, Dawn Baggaley says all people have to do is buy a courier bag, fill it with clean soft plastics such as bread bags, frozen food bags, toilet paper packaging, or anything made of plastic which can be scrunched into a ball.

Then book a courier for pick-up, or drop the bag at the local NZ Post store.

The soft plastics are recycled and made into fence posts by Future Post at its Waiuku-based business.

Diana Jamieson, national sales manager for Future Post, who lives in North Canterbury, says it is exciting to have three local Rangiora stores – Countdown, New World and The Warehouse – participating in soft plastics recycling after a three year pause.

But the addition of the courier bag system for those who could not get to these participating stores, would make recycling soft plastics much more effective and accessible.

Kilmarnock Enterprises collects, bales and palletises the plastics to send to Auckland.

It is then manufactured into posts for farms, vineyards and gardens by Future Post, which is expanding its Waiuku operation due to high demand. It is keen to return Rangiora’s soft plastic waste back to the region as fence posts.

Diana says the venture will divert 500 tonnes of soft plastic from landfill per month, and “plastic is not that heavy”.

One 1.8 metre Future Post is the equivalent of 320 milk bottles and 1200 pieces of soft plastic.

“That is probably more milk than we would drink, or bread we could eat as individuals in a year,” she say.

The posts do not rot or leach, last up to 50 plus years, and can be recycled again “if they had to be”.

NZ Post will be working with key partners including The Warehouse Group, and Foodstuffs to make the pre-paid Soft Plastic Recycle Courier bags widely available.

The Warehouse Group Chief Sustainability Officer, David Benattar, says the new service is a step toward giving all Kiwis access to convenient recycling solutions.

“We’re focused on making it as easy as possible for our customers to recycle.” Pre-paid courier bags can be picked up at The Warehouse and Warehouse Stationery stores nationwide or online, as well as on TheMarket.com.

They can take them home to the office and fill with soft plastics. “NZ Post will do the rest.”