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When can a plastic bread bag turn into a fence post? When it’s part of the new collection scheme for soft plastics recycling being introduced by Hauraki District Council in collaboration with The Soft Plastics Recycling Scheme, AgriSea, New World Waihi, Four Square Ngatea, the Hauraki Repair and Reuse Centre and FuturePost.

And that's not all. From this week, rigid number 5 plastics can join plastics numbered 1 and 2 in kerbside recycling bins, and soft plastics can be taken to six convenient locations around the district for recycling.

Six new collection sites for soft plastics

Council soft plastic collection bins are now in place at Ngatea Foursquare, Waihi New World, Hauraki Repair and Reuse Centre, Council’s two Refuse Transfer Stations as well as Countdown in Paeroa (the original soft plastic bin sponsored by AgriSea).

“Our community has been asking for more recycling options so we’ve gone all out to find creative solutions. Soft plastics are not collectable in kerbside recycling bins so this is a great way to get them out of landfill bags. Every time one soft plastics collection bin is emptied, that’s one fencepost, bollard or vegetable garden post made by FuturePost. How cool is that?” said Hauraki District mayor, Toby Adams.

Once the bins are emptied by Council, the plastic will be put into bales at the Paeroa Refuse Transfer Station and then stored at AgriSea before they transport it to FuturePost in Waiuku.

Collaboration key to success

“Thanks to this incredible collaboration between these local businesses passionate about recycling and the brilliant innovation of kiwi company FuturePost, that found a solution for reusing soft plastics, we’ve been able to make this collection possible”, said Hauraki District Council mayor, Toby Adams.

 Soft plastics include bags for bread; fresh produce; wrappers for toilet paper, cereals, snack foods, dairy products, courier packs, bubble wrap, lightly foiled bags for chip packets and confectionery, garden potting mix bags and dry pet food bags.

 “We encourage shoppers to get into the habit of popping their clean, dry, used soft plastics into the reusable bag they take grocery shopping, and emptying it into the collection bin as they head into the store”, said Adams.

More good news - rigid number 5 plastics can now go in kerbside recycling bins

And the good news doesn’t stop there. Thanks to funding from the Ministry for the Environment (MfE), Council’s kerbside collections contractor now has equipment that can sort rigid number 5 plastics automatically, which means from Monday 7 March number 5 rigid plastics can go into kerbside recycling wheelie bins and Council’s Refuse Transfer Station bins.

CAPTN Clean 1, 2 and 5 plastics

Rigid number 5 plastics include ice cream tubs, margarine tubs, yoghurt tubs and pottles,, take-out containers (not polystyrene) and prescription bottles. The sorting equipment can’t take loose bottle tops as they are too small and can cause blockages. 

“We’ve made a big commitment with our communities to reduce waste to landfill by 41 percent in the next six years. Getting soft plastics and rigid number 5 plastics out of landfill rubbish bags and into recycling again is a very exciting first step. We say a huge thanks to all the businesses that are collaborating with us to make this mahi possible”, said Adams.

Deputy Mayor Paul Milner pops the first plastic bag into one of Council's new soft plastics collection bins.

Deputy Mayor Paul Milner pops the first soft plastic bag into our new collection bin