Posts with term Include New Zealand X

Are we there yet?

Do you pause with plastic poised over your waste bin, squinting to see recycling numbers, or question the compostability of a coffee cup? You have company. Colmar Brunton’s 2020 Better Futures report found 67% of us want more business environmental action. We toss 97 million plastic bottles into landfill, yet half of us say we would switch brands based on sustainability. Perhaps we should take more personal responsibility. Sandford, a self-professed ‘sustainable’ fishery, packs my market fish on a plastic tray with no recycling number, then clingwraps it. Following my enquiry, it says it is moving to using sustainable packaging. After a call to Hellers about the lack of a recycling number on packs, Brydon Heller replied that customer pressure is prompting them to change to recyclable packaging. So speak up. The supermarket that banned plastic carry-bags festoons me with produce plastic bags, so my veges now go loose to the checkout. Last year, a report from the Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor came to the worrying conclusion that there is no coordinated approach to reporting plastics use. But the report is baffling – it stated the aim of onshore recycling by 2025 of PET, HDPE, PP and perhaps LDPE. Elsewhere, the kids’ ‘ecovibe’ drinking straws are PLA, and my freezer bags are BPA-free. Have I missed a lifestyle eco-glossary? Today, plastics comprise 85% of the world’s beach litter, most of which is food-related. Does greed drive prolific packaging, or is it the increased demand of a growing world? Sir David Attenborough reminded the British parliament recently that the mantra of continuing economic growth in a finite environment belongs to either an economist or a madman. You can jolly nearly obliterate plastics with the stroke of a pen said the 94-year-old broadcaster, adding, “If you can convert or get rid of plastic waste economically, there’s a fortune to be made.” In 2003, Tom Szaky launched international recycling company TerraCycle, now operating here. He believes it is more economical to manufacture from recycled than from virgin materials. Despite almost all products being ‘technically’ recyclable, he says only four are commonly accepted – clear glass, uncoated paper, certain rigid plastics and certain metals. Inventive TerraCycle accepts Gladwrap, Caffe L’Affare and Nescafé capsules and even cigarette butts, destined to become compost, park benches, pallets, or (ironically) ashtrays. It also invented chewing-gum recycling. In New Zealand, “plastic recycling is broken,” says Innocent Packaging’s general manager, Fraser Hanson. He began in 2013 in a garage, and now employs 15 staff making packaging from bagasse (a sugar byproduct), straw, paper and corn starch and Innocent composting bins sit outside 50 Auckland cafés. Hanson says our plastic production has increased twentyfold since 1964, yet just 5% of plastics are recycled effectively. My local council (Far North) has reduced its recyclable plastics list, and their Solid Waste Engineer admits, “We recycle what we have a market for.”  So, plastic 5 is off the menu for one- third of our local councils. However, jam makers Anathoth-Barkers say we import valuable plastic 5 because recyclers can’t collect enough. Processed into granules it makes low-grade items such as planters and buckets. Plastics NZ admits that “recycling is currently a minefield of confusion.” Take ‘compostable’ PLA (polylactic acid) drinking straws. Made from naturally occurring plant material, they require high-temperature composting and do not decompose in landfill or waterways. Some containers state ‘commercially compostable’ and, as of May last year, 12 facilities from Kerikeri to Timaru exist where the requisite 55-degree temperature is maintained. That’s also possible in a well-managed home compost system. Bostock Brothers packs its free-range chicken in home- compostable Grounded Packaging. Ben Grant from Grounded says the end- of-life process for packaging is poorly  understood. “Nationally the recycling stream doesn’t work; the chances of getting recycled are, more or less, none.” Composting, however, is a different story. Ben Bostock says their bioplastic packaging was developed to ensure shelf life. “We’ve had a lot of people say they don’t normally buy organic chicken because of the price, but they’re buying ours because of home-compostable packaging.” Bostocks themselves will hot-compost any packaging returned by consumers unable to compost at home, using it for fertilising hen-food crops. Sublime Coffee Roasters, frustrated with a tardy local council, developed its own hot compost system, diverting from landfill more than 5000 cups and lids a month in Nelson and Palmerston North. Nespresso also recycles its aluminium pods returned to them by consumers. For a reusable, recycled coffee cup, check the ingenious rCup from Ashortwalk Ltd in Cornwall, the idea of Dyson designer, Don Dicker, who says 500 billion disposable cups being thrown away annually, motivated him to create recycled products. Air New Zealand welcomes reusable cups onboard, and Head of Sustainability, Lisa Daniell, says they have diverted nearly 900 tonnes of flight waste from landfill since 2017. They’ve trialled edible cups which Customer Experience Manager Niki Chave home-tested, reporting, “The coffee cup will hold up, and stay crisp, much longer than it will take for you to drink your coffee.” There are more successes to smile about. Colgate has an international scheme to take back all brands of toothpaste tubes, brushes, floss containers and packaging. Its TerraCycle partnership has 2000 collection hubs from Kaitaia to Tokanui and a free- post scheme. Last year, New Zealand schools and charities received $70,000 from the scheme, along with lunch bags made from recycled toothpaste tubes. Support supermarket moves like the Food in the Nude initiative that began in New World’s Bishopdale store in Christchurch. Owner Nigel Bond says sales of some unwrapped veges increased up to 30%. Clean bread bags, bubble wrap and soft plastic packs, including foiled potato chip bags, can be recycled at The Warehouse, Huckleberry and 37 Countdown stores. They become recyclable fence posts and ducting. Graduates from the country’s top hospitality college, QRC, are charged to lead a culture of change says CEO Charlie Phillips. “Plastic packaging becomes ingrained, but it has not always been like that. We need to revert back to the future.” In the words of Ben & Jerry’s founder Jerry Greenfield, we’re “sheltered from the environmental and human impact of our everyday decisions and lifestyles.” So, let’s take more personal responsibility. Speak up and exercise the power of consumer choice. As Sir David Attenborough says, “The only way I get up in the morning is to say ‘Something’s got to be done, and I will do my best to bring that about.’” NOTE For a list of soft plastic collection points and recycling partners go to recycling.kiwi.nz.

Recycling in 2020 with TerraCycle

Founded by Tom Szaky, TerraCycle is changing the way businesses handle their product waste. TerraCycle’s mission is to eliminate the idea of waste by using a new recycling process. TerraCycle operates in 21 countries with hundreds of recycling platforms that lead us closer to a functional circular economy. To date, TerraCycle has already diverted over 7 billion products from landfill globally. A Princeton University drop-out, Szaky has a passion to change the way people view waste. The idea came to him while recycling food waste at the university and turning it into fertilizer. A political refugee from Hungary, Szaky was inspired by the idea of working with capitalism, rather than against it. General Manager of TerraCycle Australia & New Zealand, Jean Bailliard, says TerraCycle repurposes products and their packaging to keep waste out of landfills and manage our Earth’s resources. “We want to get people to view waste as something useful, something we can circulate back into the economy. We need to be using it over and over again, and thus saving more of the world’s precious resources for future generations.” Bailliard says that a better question than ‘what can TerraCycle recycle?’ is ‘what can’t TerraCycle recycle?’ “Around the world, we recycle everything from complex items like cigarette butts, chewing gum, and even dirty diapers, through to simpler ones such as chip bags and cosmetic waste. We also focus on how to integrate unique waste streams back into consumer products like turning ocean plastic into shampoo bottles,” says Bailliard. Other products made from recycled products include garden beds, park benches, and playgrounds.


We all know what kerbside recycling looks like, but what’s the difference between weekly, government-funded recycling versus what TerraCycle does? Bailliard says it comes down to basic economics. “It simply costs more to process items that are complex and made of several different materials that are difficult to separate, than the processed material is worth. The reason why we’re able to recycle these items is down to our brand partners who sponsor the programmes, thereby filling the economic gap in the process,” says Bailliard. Colgate collaborates with TerraCycle to recycled their product waste. It is then recycled and repurposed into useful products. Last year the Colgate Community Garden Challenge encouraged New Zealand schools to collect as much oral care waste as possible. Winners from West Rolleston Primary school received a garden bed set made from recycled oral care packaging. Another one of TerraCycle’s brand partners is Nestlé. They specifically work on recycling the Nescafé Dulce Gusto capsules used in their at-home coffee machines. Nestlé New Zealand Head of Marketing, Fraser Shrimpton says their focus is to make all their packaging reusable or recyclable by 2025. Their capsule recycling partnership with TerraCycle is one of the many steps to get there. “To recycle Nescafé Dolce Gusto capsules through the program, Kiwis simply visit TerraCycle website, sign up for free and start collecting Nescafé Dolce Gusto coffee capsules in any cardboard box,” says Shrimpton. Collectors must seal their capsules in a plastic bag or ensure the capsules are dry before placing them in their collection box. When full, they log into their TerraCycle account and download a free shipping label. From there they stick the label to the box of waste and drop it at their nearest post office, free of charge. For each shipment of more than seven  kilograms of used capsules, collectors earn 2 points or $0.02 per capsule. This money goes to a school or non-profit organisation of their choice.

E-Waste – The New Kid On The Block

TerraCycle’s latest partnership with Vapo and Alt. to recycle e-cigarette waste is particularly exciting. With more electronic waste appearing within our capitalist society, a solution to this is needed more than ever. Bailliard says that e-waste is perhaps the final frontier for recyclers as it’s relatively new to them. So how do they do it? It starts with research and development of a recycling process in the U.S. This information is then passed onto third-party recycling vendors that TerraCycle work with. Bailliard says that this process allows them to have “ultimate flexibility,” meaning they can utilize any facility they require. Co-owner of Vapo and Alt. New Zealand, Ben Pryor, says it’s the first programme of its kind. “Late last year we announced that Kiwis could drop off their Vapo and Alt branded e-cigarette waste at any Vapo store for recycling. In March this year we extended the programme so vapers could send their vaping waste for free through the post.” Pryor says they don’t want to make the same mistake the tobacco industry has. “Let’s not forget that cigarette butts are the single greatest source of ocean trash. 5.7 trillion cigarettes worldwide are smoked annually. Cigarette butts are the number one man-made contaminant in our oceans,” says Pryor. Vapo and Alt will donate one dollar towards the charity Sustainable Coastlines for every kilogram of vaping equipment sent to TerraCycle.

Want To Know More?

Head to TerraCycle’s website for more information if you want to get involved as a business or an individual to start recycling your ‘out of the ordinary’ products..

New Zealand Vape Recycling Programme Expands Into Homes

New Zealanders who vape can now responsibly dispose of their e-cigarette waste in two ways: drop off at Vapo and Alt. stores or send their collected waste for free through the post. Last December, leading vape suppliers, Vapo and Alt. New Zealand, partnered with global recycling pioneers, TerraCycle, to offer the first programme of its kind to recycle vaping devices and pods. At the time, participants could drop their waste off at the eleven Vapo and Alt. stores in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Nelson. Beginning today, the items can now also be collected at home and sent through the post. To recycle from home, participants simply sign up to the programme at www.terracycle.com, collect their waste in any available cardboard box (up to four batteries per shipment), print off a free shipping label then drop it off at their nearest post office. Additionally, for every kilogram of vaping equipment sent to TerraCycle, Vapo and Alt. will donate $1 towards the charity Sustainable Coastlines – which works to keep New Zealand’s coastlines beautiful. A growing problem in New Zealand, e-cigarette waste is particularly difficult to recycle due to the complexity of separating out the different materials. However, when Vapo first approached TerraCycle for a recycling solution for their products, General Manager Jean Bailliard rose to the challenge.
“The process of recycling e-waste is far more complex than traditional forms of waste, however it is not impossible. As TerraCycle’s mission is to eliminate the idea of waste, we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to prove that technically, everything is recyclable.” “We will turn the waste into new products such as outdoor furniture, something we have done many times in the past. This moves waste from a linear system to a circular one, allowing it to keep cycling in our economy,” Bailliard said. Whether the materials come through store drop off or through the mail, TerraCycle will then disassemble and separate Alt. and Vapo Haiz vaping devices into their different metal/electrical components, batteries and plastics. The plastics are then shredded and melted into pellets that can be remolded to make new recycled products such as garden beds and park benches, while the metals and batteries are separated and recovered. This process will potentially save millions of pods, e-waste and batteries from ending up in New Zealand’s environment. Jonathan Devery, co-director of Vapo and Alt. New Zealand alongside Ben Pryor, said the company was excited to be taking the lead on e-cigarette recycling in New Zealand. “Not only is vaping much safer than smoking, our products are now also much more environmentally friendlier. “A national litter audit this year found that more than 10 billion cigarette butts pollute New Zealand’s ecosystem. We don’t want to be like the tobacco industry! Instead, we’re committed to a smoke-free country and a sustainable future,” said Mr Devery. Mr Pryor said as the largest Kiwi-owned vape company, achieving positive environmental outcomes is a priority for Vapo and Alt., with other announcements to follow “The billion-dollar Big Tobacco companies should be investing in our country’s future with waste reduction programmes, but sadly they’re not. Instead it’s a couple of Kiwis who are providing solutions to the damage that tobacco products have done to both individuals and the environment. “We’re proud to work with TerraCycle to deliver this globally-unique recycling initiative, and we’re delighted to donate to Sustainable Coastlines to support their great work,” said Mr Pryor.

Caring for the planet, and your teeth: Why bamboo toothbrushes are only the start

Sales of environmentally friendly dental care products are steadily on the rise, but as business editor Maria Slade finds it isn’t easy being green. Sorry planet Earth I’ve tried, truly I have, but I just can’t do bamboo toothbrushes. The feel of the rough wooden handles in my mouth is like fingernails on a blackboard. And yet I’m not happy about tossing out a non-renewable plastic implement once every couple of months, either. The website of UK bamboo toothbrush maker MyBambooBrush claims Britons use a whopping 192 million toothbrushes a year. Whatever the veracity of that statistic, it is fairly evident a shedload of petrochemical-based nylon goes into landfills annually as a result of the modern human’s dental hygiene habits. How to care for your pearly whites without adding to this environmental burden is something more and more New Zealanders are thinking about. A recent poll by customer insights agency Perceptive found that a quarter of Kiwis are now using an eco-friendly toothbrush. That figure is even higher among people aged 18-24, and of those who have not yet gone down the natural route 82% would consider giving it a go. But as with most environmental issues, being eco-friendly in your oral care presents a number of conundrums. There is currently no straightforward way of recycling toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes in New Zealand, and many natural toothpastes that are supposedly better for the planet are also fluoride-free, which the dentistry profession warns is a tooth decay epidemic waiting to happen. The Perceptive omnibus survey of 1000 New Zealanders found that of those using an eco-friendly toothbrush 38% are opting for bamboo. The New Zealand Dental Association is fine with bamboo brushes, saying they clean your teeth as well as anything else. Yet as my own experience shows they aren’t for everyone and from an environmental point of view it still involves chucking something in the rubbish. Environmentally friendly cleaning and body products company Ecostore launched an oral care range in 2018. Its toothbrushes are made out of renewable castor oil-based nylon and can be sent back to Ecostore for recycling via its purpose-designed scheme. While overall the oral care category is flat, sales of the new range are growing steadily, the company says. Ecostore R&D manager Huia Iti says it chose not to go down the bamboo route for several reasons. Firstly it prefers goods made from recyclable materials that remain in use rather than disposable items. Ecostore’s toothbrush handles are ground into chips and moulded into spanners which wholesale customers use to open its 20 litre bulk containers, for example. Secondly, bamboo toothbrushes still have a metal staple in the head holding the bristles in place, and that is going into landfill. Toothbrushes and toothpaste tubes can’t be put into standard curbside recycling collections, and the Ecostore scheme relies on consumers proactively sending their used products back, Iti concedes. There is no perfect answer. “You choose the best most sustainable option you’ve got and keep making improvements,” he says. “You can’t just sit back and wait until the perfect solution is there.” New Zealanders haven’t embraced natural toothpastes at quite the same rate as they have environmentally kinder toothbrushes, but still the Perceptive survey shows 19% are using a ‘natural’ product and of those who don’t the vast majority would consider doing so. There are a wide variety of products on the market, and one company offering a solution to the packaging dilemma is homegrown startup Pop Care. Its mint-sized Pop Tabs are chewed before the user brushes their teeth, and come in a single tin of 125. While Pop Tabs contain fluoride, many natural dental care products including the Ecostore range do not. Ecostore wants to offer consumers choice, Iti says. “Based on our understanding and interpretation of the science, we have our doubts about fluoride itself and we’ve taken the precautionary approach and decided to avoid it.” The company was forced to amend its claims about fluoride after a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority soon after the launch of its range, however. Rival natural toothpaste maker Grin meanwhile allegedly ran foul of Massey University, with the two organisations disagreeing over use of university research commissioned and funded by the company. New Zealand Dental Association president Katie Ayers says it’s not always made clear that products are fluoride-free, and dentists want to see better labelling so that consumers are aware they may be putting their oral health at risk. “We’re seeing some individuals who have previously had minimal tooth decay suddenly developing a lot of new cavities after they have changed to a fluoride-free ‘eco’ toothpaste, sometimes without realising that their new toothpaste was not effective,” she says. The profession has no issue with products being plant-based or leaving out additives such as sodium laurel sulphate which makes the paste foam. The problem is the absence of fluoride. A recent analysis of studies into the effectiveness of toothpaste was pretty clear, she says. “It basically found if you haven’t got fluoride in your toothpaste you might as well not bother.” The good news is some natural toothpaste products now do contain fluoride, such as Grin’s Natural Whitening and Colgate’s Nature’s Extracts. Colgate is also attempting to address the packaging issue with a recycling scheme in conjunction with TerraCycle, although once again it requires consumers to proactively drop off used goods at a collection point. While the trend towards more earth-friendly oral care is clear and growing, in the medium term the onus will remain on the consumer to do the mahi and research their options. Meanwhile could someone please invent a bamboo toothbrush that doesn’t feel like I’m sanding my mouth?

Flushing your contact lenses down the drain is adding plastic waste to oceans

For its programme, Bausch + Lomb partners with a company called TerraCycle that specialises in recycling smaller items that wouldn't normally get separated in the standard process. The issue with lenses is to deal with not only them but their packaging made up of foil and plastic, which has to be separated in order to go to recycling plants, said Rick Zultner, director of process and product development for TerraCycle.