Foodstuffs

Monday, 20 July 2015

Foodstuffs champions’ new initiative to recycling soft plastic bags

New World and PAK’nSAVE stores in Auckland will champion the new soft plastic bags initiative announced by Environment Minister, Nick Smith, over the weekend. The novel programme promises to introduce REDcycle soft plastic recycling bins at stores to enable shoppers to bring back their used plastic bags and other soft plastics all of which are currently unable to be recycled through the traditional bins people have at home.

New World and PAK’nSAVE stores in Auckland will champion the new soft plastic bags initiative announced by Environment Minister, Nick Smith, over the weekend. The novel programme promises to introduce REDcycle soft plastic recycling bins at stores to enable shoppers to bring back their used plastic bags and other soft plastics all of which are currently unable to be recycled through the traditional bins people have at home.

The recycling scheme, which is to be managed by the Packaging Forum and supported by the government, will commence in September with the roll out starting in Auckland followed by expansion to the Waikato, Wellington, Canterbury, Otago, Bay of Plenty, Manawatu and other regions over the next three years. The objective is to provide access to recycle soft plastics to approximately 70% of all New Zealanders.

Lyn Mayes, project lead, said soft plastic bags are not currently collected for recycling by councils because they can contaminate the recycling process.

“New Zealanders use more than 1.6 billion plastic bags in their homes every year.  This new project will take all soft plastic bags including bread bags, frozen food bags, toilet paper packaging, confectionery and biscuit wrap, chip bags, pasta and rice bags, courier envelopes, shopping bags, sanitary hygiene packaging – basically anything made of plastic which can be scrunched into a ball.”

“REDcycle, who also runs the programme in Australia, will supply recycling bins in selected New World and PAK’nSAVE stores. Initially the materials will be sent back to Australia where they are made into park benches and fitness circuits for playgrounds until there are facilities in New Zealand such as those planned at Astron Plastics,” says Mayes.

The project is to be funded through a $700,000 grant to the Packaging Forum which is being matched by industry and a $510,000 grant to Astron Plastics Group from the Government's Waste Minimisation Fund. The grant to Astron Plastics Group will enable the business to establish a new dry-cleaning facility in Auckland with the capacity to recycle 2000 tonnes of soft plastics thus reducing the requirement to export the collected plastic waste.

Mike Sammons, Sustainability Manager, Foodstuffs New Zealand, says we are delighted that the pilot has been given the green light by government.

“We recognise that plastic bags pose an ongoing environmental challenge and a lot of our customers have told us they want a better solution for recycling plastic bags. Foodstuffs, and its brands New World and PAK’nSAVE, in partnership with other food manufacturers, retailers and packaging companies, have been actively looking for viable solution so that we can do our part to reducing the ongoing environmental impact.” 

“From September, customers in Auckland will be able to bring their used soft plastics back to store and put them in the supplied recycling bins.  We will be actively encouraging our customers to get in behind this fantastic opportunity as its success in the initial phase will ensure further roll out nationally,” says Sammons.

The project is already supported by major brands including Pams, Cottonsoft, Huggies, Kleenex, New Zealand Post, SunRice, Astron and Elldex Plastics with many others committed to joining the programme.

Got a question about this page?