This week Foodstuffs – the owner of New World and Pak N Save – said that it had extended its recycling bag scheme to Canterbury.
The programme, which already runs in Auckland and Hamilton, allows people to dispose of soft plastics such as shopping bags, bread bags and food wrapping in to specially designed bins.
The material is collected, sorted and sent to reprocessors who will turn it in to a feed stock that can be used to make products like outdoor furniture, decking materian and – even more soft plastics recycling bins.
Meanwhile, Foodstuffs also rolled out recyclable butchery trays nationwide.
The trays won the award for the country’s top waste minimisation initiative of 2016 at the Environment Ministry’s Green Ribbon Awards.
They are made of 50 percent recycled plastic and 50 percent non-recycled plastic.
Foodstuff’s sustainability manager Mike Sammons says “it was a massive challenge finding a cost-efficient, functional, sustainable solution”.
Any replacement product had to be 100 percent recyclable at kerbside and had to work just as well capturing meat fluids, he said.
Made of 50 percent recycled plastic, the trays themselves can be put in customers’ kerbside recycling bins.
They will replace the current trays that are made of non-recyclable polystyrene foam, 100 million of which end up in NZ landfills every year – equivalent to 14 Olympic-size pools’ worth of polystyrene.
The project is part of Foodstuff’s wider commitment to transition all its in-store and private label packaging to be 100 percent recyclable for customers, either through kerbside collections or back at the store, he said.
“Additionally, we are currently trialing a plastic bag reduction initiative in a number of New World stores, which rewards customers for using a reusable bag as opposed to taking a plastic bag,” he says.
More than 80 percent of Foodstuffs’ stores are putting in place waste reduction programmes, with average recycling rates increasing from 68 percent to 81 percent, he said.
Some stores are now sending over 90 percent of their waste to alternative users, such as livestock feed and compost, and recycling plants.
Foodstuff are active donors to ‘food rescue’ programmes and food banks, donating the equivalent of 3000 meals a month per store.