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Countdown supermarkets will join the soft plastics recycling
programme announced by Minister for the Environment Dr Nick
Smith and the Packaging Forum.
Countdown welcomes the industry-led initiative which will
mean customers can return plastic bags to participating stores
after use, and they will be collected for recycling, and turned
into useful public goods, like children’s playground equipment.
Countdown will roll out a trial in its Hamilton stores first.
General Manager of Strategy and Corporate Affairs, Richard
Manaton, says: “We know Kiwis are concerned about plastic bags
littering the environment rather than being recycled. Countdown
has a strong focus on waste reduction and we’re eager to be a
part of this trial.
“The strength of this programme is that it includes all those
involved in the life-cycle of plastic packaging, the manufacturers,
distributors and consumers.”
“We’ll hopefully see this programme rolled out to more than 70% of
New Zealand over the next three years,” says Manaton.
For many years Countdown has given customers alternatives to
plastic bags, including the option to bring their own reusable bags
or purchase reusable bags in store. Countdown will continue to
encourage customers to use reusable bags in its stores too.
Since 2006, Countdown has been focused on improving
sustainability. In that time Countdown’s retail space has increased
33%, yet the business has reduced waste to landfill by 42% and
increased recycling by 25%.
New World and PAK’nSAVE stores in Auckland
will champion the new soft plastic bags initiative
announced by Environment Minister, Nick Smith.
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.
Mike Sammons, Sustainability Manager,
Foodstuffs New Zealand, says he is 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.”
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.
Mike Sammons, Sustainability Manager,
Foodstuffs champions new
Countdown joins soft plastic
TOLD US THEY WANT
A BETTER SOLUTION
38 FMCG BUSINESS - SEPTEMBER 2015
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