Dunedin firm Packit Packaging, which makes plastic food containers, has been praised by the plastics industry for its innovative public trial, launched in the city yesterday, to encourage recycling of polypropylene food containers.

"We certainly applaud them for that initiative,'' Plastics New Zealand chief executive Ken Sowman said.

The move also showed that "post-consumer polypropylene can be recycled'' in New Zealand, Mr Sowman, of Auckland, said.

PP Recycling

Plastics New Zealand is the industry's national association.

New Zealand has long had a successful, internal business-to-business recycling programme for number 5 plastics: light, rigid plastics used in food containers like ice cream and yoghurt pottles.

But yesterday's initiative, undertaken and funded by Packit, is believed to be the first move in New Zealand to foster recycling of polypropylene after consumers have used it.

The firm will provide a recycling bin at Centre City New World as a trial for the next three months, to receive the used plastic containers, after consumers have washed and cleaned them.

Packit directors Jan Swann and Chris Mcbride said "Number 5 PP'' plastics included "wide-mouthed squeeze sauce bottles, food storage or lunch boxes, and ice cream or dairy containers'' and the term "Number 5 PP'', was on the container base.

The initiative also showed "we care'' and met a growing public demand for recycling, they said.

Packit would help recycle all PP plastics, not just its own containers.

The polypropylene would go to Christchurch for recycling then return to Dunedin to make more containers.

Mr Mcbride said Number 1 and 2 graded plastics, including, respectively, soft drink bottles and milk jugs, were already recycled in this country.

But valuable grade 5 plastics had been "commingled'' within grades 3 to 7, and sent to China.

But after China recently largely stopped importing the plastics, Packit wanted to help, he said.

Source: Otago Daily Times