Rice bags, chocolate bar wrappers … you can now recycle them! Have you seen these bins in your local supermarket and wondered, what can I put in it?
The Love NZ Soft Plastic Recycling Programme is a new industry-led recycling programme that diverts soft plastics from landfill and turns them into new products.
New Zealanders use around 1.6 billion plastic bags every year, that means that 4.3 million are thrown away each day! These soft plastic bags are not currently collected for recycling by councils because they can contaminate the recycling process.
What plastic do the bins take? It takes all soft plastic bags including bread bags, frozen food bags, toilet paper packaging, confectionery and biscuit wraps, chip bags, pasta and rice bags, courier envelopes, shopping bags, chocolate and muesli bar wrappers, sanitary hygiene packaging . Anything made of plastic that can be scrunched into a ball. Make sure the plastic is reasonably clean and dry.
Where? You can find your closest store on the store locator. Currently the project is focused on supermarkets and retailers but this may extend to educational institutions (like UC!).
What happens after collection? The plastic is collected by Abilities Group, an organisation established to create meaningful employment for people with disabilities. The collected plastic is sent to Australia where it is transformed into robust plastic products like outdoor furniture, bollards and recycling bins.
What else can you do? Reducing plastic is still the best option. So think about:
– Getting a string bag for your fruit and vege in addition to your cloth shopping bag. Check out these organic ones