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Bagging Plastic Bags

22 April 2004

From next week (Monday 26 April), plastic supermarket shopping bags will be collected as part of the normal kerbside collection.

Residents are asked to make sure the supermarket shopping bags are:

  • clean and empty
  • put in the bag with their recyclable paper, handles tied (this helps weigh the bags down so they don’t blow around causing litter)
  • placed on top of the recycling crate as usual

NOTE: only plastic supermarket shopping bags are acceptable

Richard Lloyd, chief executive of the Recovered Materials Foundation (RMF), saysthere have been more and more calls for supermarket bags to be recycled, “ but, until we had a market for them, we couldn’t accept them at the kerbside.”

The RMF will sort the collected bags and send them to Christchurch company Range Industries Ltd, which has devised a process called thermo-fusion™ to turn the supermarket bags into durable plastic planks suitable for boxing, pallets and fenceposts.

The plastic supermarket bags are packed into woolpacks at the RMF sorting depot. Between 60 and 70 woolpacks make a bale weighing around 800kg. At Range Industries, that bale makes up to 1000m of plastic planking (approx. 100mm x 18mm).

“Thermo-fusion™ is a process developed especially with plastic bags in mind,” says Matthew Darby, managing director of Range Industries. “It’s estimated that nearly every person in New Zealand throws out one plastic shopping bag every day. That’s equivalent to 900 tonnes of bags going to landfill every month. We can divert that from the waste stream, process it and produce items traditionally made from wood.”

* Real Recycling is the kerbside recycling brand in Christchurch and Waimakariri districts. It is a partnership between Christchurch City and Waimakariri District councils, Onyx Group and the RMF.

Real Recycling: We only take what we can recycle and we do recycle what we take.

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