Foodstuffs committed to sustainable solutions to reduce plastic waste
Friday, 21 December 2018
Foodstuffs has been a supporter of the Packaging Forum’s Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme since its inception in November 2015. Foodstuffs stores have collected fully two thirds of the total scheme volume and have enabled approximately 400 tonnes of soft plastics to be processed into new long-life products including benches, bollards, decking, plastic posts and ducting for electric cables. Prior to offering this service the soft plastics would have gone to landfill.
With the pause to the Scheme, announced today by the Packaging Forum, our key focus will be on reducing plastic packaging in our stores across our private label products, working with suppliers to review their packaging and the removal of single use plastic bags at the checkout at all out stores on January 1, 2019. Concurrently, Foodstuffs is exploring a number of exciting new avenues to help reduce soft plastic waste among other products.
Unfortunately, the scheme has been a victim of its own success for a few key reasons; it has been embraced enthusiastically by customers, there is a lack of capacity for processing and a lack of demand for re-processed products.
Currently only 20 tonnes out of the current 60 tonnes collected monthly is now reprocessed through two small re-processors, while the other 40 tonnes are either stockpiled or sent to landfill.
Foodstuffs has worked closely with the Forum in the hope that new re-processors could be found to take the material. We commend the programme’s leaders for pausing the scheme while building future ways to properly re-use the waste capacity.
Foodstuffs is right behind the Packaging Forum in expanding the market for this challenging material and would be happy to recommence collection and recycling if the demand and supply situation changes.
Our 100% New Zealand owned and operated co-operative is absolutely doing our bit in a number of areas. We encourage Government to work with industry to help accelerate the infrastructure needed for the future, and we ask our customers to take personal responsibility around choosing brands and products with less packaging or sustainable packaging options. Together we can make a real long-term difference.