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Soft plastic recycling arrives in Tairāwhiti

Tuesday 18 October 2022

Tairāwhiti residents can now recycle their soft plastic packaging for the first time at six participating Countdown, PAK’nSAVE, The Warehouse, and Four Square stores in the wider Tairāwhiti region.

The distinctive recycling bins can be found at Countdown Gisborne, Pak'nSave, The Warehouse and Four Square Tokomaru Bay, Ruatoria and Te Araroa. By starting in October the service will be established before the start of the busy summer season for the region.

Lyn Mayes, Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme Manager says:

“We are delighted to finally bring soft plastic recycling to Tairāwhiti. We know locals have been asking for this service for some time; and we are also pleased to be able to get the service well up and running before the busy summer tourist season hits the wider region,”

“This has been made possible because our members have worked hard to find a logistics solution.   Local Tairāwhiti bakers Walter Findlay will collect soft plastics from participating stores and bale it ready for transport to Auckland leveraging Goodman Fielder’s transport network. This expansion means that more than 80 percent of New Zealanders now have access to soft plastic recycling within 20km of where they live or work, with almost 250 drop off locations,” says Ms Mayes.

Walter Findlay Ltd Communications Manager Alyx Findlay says:

“Findlay’s bakery is proud to announce we are working with the Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme and some of our key customers to see the bread bags and other soft plastics which we bring into our region are also leaving our region with a better solution for our planet and future generations. Bringing the soft plastics recycling scheme to Tairawhiti is one step closer to a more sustainable and responsible fresh loaf of locally baked bread, and a move we believe will benefit the entire community.”

Gisborne District Council Community Lifelines Solid Waste Manager Phil Nickerson says: “We have been waiting for soft plastic recycling in Tairāwhiti for many years and this news will make many residents happy. Being able to divert soft plastics from landfill adds to the other recycling schemes we have in our region. It all counts in minimising waste. We congratulate these businesses for being proactive.”

Mike Sammons, Sustainability Manager for Foodstuffs NZ says:

“At Foodstuffs we understand the how important it is to help our customers recycle soft plastic and to reduce the amount of waste reaching landfills. This is especially important in remote, beautiful regions like the Tairāwhiti region.  We are very pleased to be part of the Gisborne network and especially proud of our Four-Square stores that are taking the network well beyond the city limits. It has been a challenge to set up this network given the remote geography but the determination of all involved has proved that when we work together just about anything is possible.”

Narelle Fleming, Store Manager Countdown Gisborne says:

"It's really exciting to be able to offer a soft plastics collection in Tairāwhiti, Gisborne. Our customers have been asking for a long time, so to be able to provide this service and help them and our store be more sustainable is a big win. Countdown has supported the Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme since it began and we're proud we can now be involved thanks to a collaboration with local bakers Walter Findlay and Goodman Fielder."

David Benattar, Chief Sustainability Officer, The Warehouse Group says the expansion of the scheme in Tairāwhiti is an exciting step for Kiwis.

“The Warehouse is pleased to further expand the Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme across our national store network. We now have 42 stores which are part of the programme and since August 2019, close to 28 million individual units of soft plastic, equating to nearly 180 tonnes, has been collected and diverted from landfill.

“As a business we are prioritising the delivery of products and packaging with reduced plastic and improved recyclability and reusability, while also providing solutions that will make sustainable living easy and affordable for everyone.”

Soft plastic collected in the region will be recycled at Future Post’s plant in Waiuku, South Auckland. Jerome Wenzlick, Founder of Future Post says that the partnership with the Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme benefits everyone.

“Every Future Post contains 1,500 bags and wrappers. So, every time Gisborne shoppers fill one of the soft plastic collection bins, that’s another post off our production line which can come back to one of the many vineyards around the wine producing regions, such as the Gisborne area,” says Mr Wenzlick.

“Expanding the Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme to Tairāwhiti is the latest example of our commitment to leverage partnerships to overcome challenges and deliver industry led solutions,” says The Packaging Forum CEO Rob Langford.

“In the past, growth was limited by our onshore processing capacity. However, Future Post has increased its production capabilities and there is new capacity with SaveBoard in Hamilton. Accordingly, this year we have been very much focussing on identifying logistics solutions to enable collection growth.”