Soft Plastic Recycling


The Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme that was rolled out around NZ is going to be reduced. Introduced in 2015, drop off points at supermarkets around the country were swamped by consumer's single use soft plastic packaging. The Australian recycler became overwhelmed and turned NZ's away, a New Zealand based recycler was announced and then the scheme was abruptly put on hold. 

The proof of concept worked: individuals took their waste to a drop off point rather than putting it in their curb side bins. But too many people, took too much waste. The problem with recycling being proposed and sold as a solution is that then everyone carries on consuming in the same way because "it can be recycled". Even in our waste free household we found ourselves slipping down that slope once in a while. 

Now that it has been and gone (officially to be relaunched as a smaller, more targeted project), the Soft Plastic Recycling Scheme has taught us all a valuable lesson: most of the waste in household rubbish bins in New Zealand is likely made up of soft plastic. Now that the average consumer has become aware of this plastic packaging by diligently collecting and dropping it off, they are aware of the problem. 

Overall this series of events may be positive; individuals are aware of the problem but now don't have recycling as their 'solution'. Ideally this will lead to reduced single use plastic use where possible and public demand for more plastic free options.