Kiwi business shows its bottle

By Phil Crawford

Stainless steel and aluminium drink bottles last a lot longer than their plastic counterparts but have we traded one problem with another when it comes to disposing of them? One Kiwi business has come up with a simple solution.

A few years ago Mark Moran had two goals in mind. He was keen to support emerging artists and he wanted to help put an end to single-use plastic bottles. As a result he started up Chunky, a reusable stainless steel bottle business, based in Queenstown. Since 2017 he has worked with 20 artists from here and overseas that have created designs, or portable art, for Chunky bottles.

Mark also wanted to be a good product steward by providing a solution for Chunky bottles when they were retired from service.

“We were putting an item out into the market and we wanted to make sure it was taken care of at the end of life,” he says.

Reusable bottles often end up in landfill as there is no option to recycle stainless steel and aluminium bottles in kerbside collections.

“We didn’t want that happening to our bottles, or any other reusable bottles, so we created our own recycling initiative.

“If you’ve got an old aluminium or stainless steel bottle from any brand, it doesn’t have to be ours, you can simply drop it off at a participating Chunky retailer for free.”

Chunky then delivers the bottles to the nearest member of the NZ Association of Metal Recyclers or the Australian Metal Recycling Industry Association if you’re across the Tasman. The business is also looking at ways to recycle the plastic inserts in the lids of some bottles as well as the silicone seals.

While it’s still early days Mark says there’s been a good response to the programme.

“Our customers love the idea. It’s all about diverting as many bottles from landfill as possible so those valuable materials can be used again.”

A growing number of businesses in New Zealand are taking responsibility for the products they make and sell by offering product stewardship schemes. Find out more at sbnproductstewardship.org.nz

Photo: Chunky founder Mark Moran. Credit: 222 Photographic Studios