Following the successful re-start of collections across the Auckland region, shoppers in and around Hamilton will be able to drop off their soft plastic packaging from Monday 9th September at nine selected Countdown and The Warehouse stores.

Malcolm Everts, Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme Chair, says they are very pleased to be extending the service, knowing we now have local processors and scheme partners working to reduce soft plastic waste.

“Since May when we re-started Auckland collections we have helped Future Post turn around 3.5 million plastic bags and wrappers into plastic fence posts. We’re now ready to extend the service out to Hamilton as well as adding four extra Auckland Countdown and The Warehouse stores.”

Malcolm Everts, Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme Chair

“This will increase the number of drop off points for consumers to 51 stores and provide a soft plastic recycling service which is accessible to around 40% of the population. It is critical to the scheme’s success that we collect quality soft plastic packaging and that we manage the volumes we collect so that it meets the available processing capacity. The new collection points are Countdown Huntly; Countdown Anglesea Road; Countdown Te Rapa; Countdown Dinsdale; Countdown Claudelands; The Warehouse Te Rapa and The Warehouse City.

“I am also delighted to announce that from October we will re-commence collections at selected Countdown and The Warehouse stores in the Wellington and Hutt Valley region. Soft Plastics collected in the Wellington region will be recycled by 2nd Life Plastics into cable covers, garden edging and other products.”

“One year ago, there was no onshore processing of post-consumer soft plastics. Today there are two North Island plants Future Post in Waiuku and Second Life Plastics in Levin which are great examples of Kiwi ingenuity. We are working with them and our members to increase demand for their products. To have a sustainable circular economy where waste materials are re-processed into new valuable products and commodities, we need industry, councils and government departments to start buying products which are made from our recycling efforts.”

“However, the principal limiting factor for our scheme is lack of near shore / on shore processing facilities. It is not a lack of industry support or a lack of consumer willingness to drop off their soft plastic packaging, it is the fact there are currently only two processors in North Island that are able to process post-consumer soft plastics.”

Scheme members’ levies fund collections from stores, quality checks, baling, transport to end markets and contribute to the processing costs as well. This is different from the traditional model where the processor pays the collector/recycler for the materials.

Countdown’s General Manager of Corporate Affairs, Safety and Sustainability Kiri Hannifin says the soft plastics bins being available in even more stores will be welcome news for their customers.

“The further roll out of the Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme to even more of our stores is fantastic news – particularly for our customers who are really passionate about reducing the amount of waste that goes to landfill. While we are working hard to reduce plastic in our business, at the moment we still need soft plastics to keep food fresh and ensure food safety. While this remains the case, it is incredibly important to us that we can provide recycling solutions for this type of packaging. We’re incredibly proud to be a part of the Scheme and look forward to supporting it in more of our stores in future.”

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