The Packaging Forum introduced ‘drop off recycling’ for soft plastic packaging at retail outlets for the first time in 2015.
The organisation works with industries, councils and community groups to build a sustainable soft plastic recycling programme. Project partners include Foodstuffs, Countdown, The Warehouse and Farro Fresh.
The main communication vehicle is the distinctive Recycling Bin signage. This is supplemented by events, a website, Facebook page and promotional materials including fridge magnets and educational posters for schools. Partners help spread the word through their own communication channels.
The initiative educates shoppers about what can be recycled, with most people in the target regions having access to the service when they go shopping. Recognition of the service is good, particularly in serviced areas. In Auckland 42% of people surveyed had heard of it.
The impact has been swift and positive. 41 tonnes of soft plastic bags and wrappers was collected in the first eight months, equivalent to around 7.6 million items. Volumes are growing weekly with 50% of New Zealanders now having access to the service within 20km of their home or work.
The Packaging Forum is a finalist in the Cadence Communications Communicating Sustainability category of the 2016 NZI Sustainable Business Network Awards.