Rethinking plastics – Case studies
Explore our series of case studies demonstrating best practice, challenges and opportunities related to rethinking plastics in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Reducing the carbon footprint of plastics by using recycled plastic
Can recycling contribute to reducing the carbon footprint of plastic?
How big is the plastic clothing problem for Aotearoa New Zealand?
Not all plastic fibres are captured by Statistics NZ import data. We estimated the weight of synthetic textiles imported into Aotearoa New Zealand as finished products.
A reusable system to replace single-use cups
Reusable cups at festivals in Aotearoa New Zealand can save thousands of plastic cups from going to landfill.
Sustainability through connection, learning and action
With a kaupapa of creating a healthy, peaceful, more sustainable world, Toimata Foundation supports inter-generational learning and action by running Te Aho Tū Roa and Enviroschools.
Empowering brands to make informed packaging decisions
The Sustainable Business Network (SBN), in partnership with the Ministry for Primary Industries, Foodstuffs NZ and New Zealand King Salmon, has run a three-part plastics packaging masterclass series to help empower brands to make informed decisions around their packaging choices.
Operation Clean Sweep
Plastic pellets, or nurdles, are the raw material of the plastics manufacturing industry. They are commonly found in beach and river clean ups. The plastic manufacturing industry in Aotearoa New Zealand identified this as a key issue for their members to address.
What’s stopping the uptake of new materials?
An outline of critical success factors to drive local development and uptake of sustainable new materials as part of a circular economy.
As part of its recent pledge to use only recycled plastics by 2024, Adidas revealed a new sneaker made from 100% recyclable materials.
Controlled plastic decomposition
A long-term solution to the decomposition of non-biodegradable plastic might be found by building on exciting new science aimed at engineering enzymes, or selecting microorganisms, that can digest traditionally non-biodegradable plastic in environmentally friendly conditions.
Plastic Bag Free Raglan, Pēke Kirihou Kore Whāingaroa
In Raglan, a whole community worked together to engage in significant behaviour change around one troublesome item of waste – single-use plastic carry bags.
New Zealand Post’s quest for an alternative to plastic
New Zealand Post wants a more sustainable, environmentally friendly alternative to their existing plastic mailers.
Para Kore – helping people reduce their waste
Para Kore is a Māori organisation that provides mentoring and support for marae, kōhanga reo, kura, community organisations, iwi, tertiary, commercial sector, events and Māori communities to reduce their waste. The goal of becoming para kore (zero waste) is based on circular economy principles.
A business enabling people to rethink their use of plastic
Ecostore is an exemplar of how a business can take transformative action to rethink how we use plastics.
Developing onshore closed-loop mechanical recycling solutions
In 2017, Flight Plastics established the first closed-loop mechanical recycling system in Aotearoa New Zealand for PET (#1).
A council-led school event to raise awareness around plastic waste
The Dunedin City Council arranged an event to promote the reduction of single-use plastic in students’ lunch boxes as part of Plastic Free July 2019.
Using mixed plastics in new materials
There are an increasing number of initiatives worldwide that are using waste plastic as components of building and construction materials, including incorporating plastics into roads.
A model to sort a whole country’s plastic waste
We cannot rely solely on existing recycling practice to fix our plastic problem. How can we shift to a new plastics economy?
The Australasian Recycling Label
The Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) is an evidence-based standardised system that provides easy to understand disposal instructions for each part of a product’s packaging.
Reuse systems in global supply chains
Within supply chains, there is both significant use of plastic and waste. Manufacturers, retailers and the logistics and supply chain industries are uniquely positioned to provide innovative solutions to reduce the waste and environmental impacts associated with moving products around the world.
Reducing cigarette butt litter
Meet the most-littered item in the world: cigarette butts. In Aotearoa New Zealand, cigarette butts account for 78% of all items littered and are the most commonly found item in beach litter clean ups.
Incentivising use of recycled plastic
The 'Recycling Demand Champions' initiative in the United States wants companies to commit to purchasing post-consumer recycled plastic, in order to drive demand, investment, supply and quality.
Saying no to single-use coffee cups
It is estimated that New Zealanders go through 295 million single-use takeaway coffee cups each year. Purchasing coffee is certainly a habitual practice – and there is great opportunity to support individuals to make that practice more sustainable.
Product stewardship for agricultural plastics
Farms and agricultural properties can generate a lot of waste and traditionally the approach to dealing with this waste has involved the 3Bs – burning, burying or bulk storing. To address problematic plastic waste issues on farms, two product stewardship schemes were developed in 2010.
Plastics – is plant-based really greener?
Increasingly, plastics are being advertised as ‘made from plants’, with the implication that it is better for the planet. But is this really true?
Is banning single-use plastic bags the right choice?
Is a single-use plastic bag better or worse than alternatives such as a paper bag, a heavier reusable plastic bag or a cotton bag?
A 97% recycling rate through a container deposit scheme
Container deposit schemes (CDS) exist in various places around the world in different forms. The highest reported rate of container recycling through such a scheme is 97%.
Staying at the leading edge of global sustainability trends
Zespri is the world's largest marketer of kiwifruit, and developer of the spife, a spoon-knife utensil made of plastic used to cut and scoop kiwifruit.
Plastic waste during new-build construction
How much plastic waste is created on new-build construction projects, and can we divert it from landfill?
Agricultural plastic waste
An assessment of plastic waste in the agricultural industry surveyed farms in Canterbury and Waikato/Bay of Plenty.
Sustainable Coastlines developed Litter Intelligence – a citizen science-based initiative to measure litter on Aotearoa New Zealand’s coastlines and collate data in a national coastal litter database.
Should wine bottles be plastic?
In order to reduce these environmental impacts associated with the wine bottle, researchers have investigated the use of alternative packaging, including plastic bottles and aseptic cartons.
Palmerston North City Council recycling
Palmerston North City Council collects over 4,000 tonnes of recycling from the Palmerston North kerbside collection service.
Modern landfill – a waste-to-energy innovation
The Redvale Landfill and Energy Park, north of Auckland, is an example of a modern landfill, engineered to recover energy from the waste that is securely disposed of to land.
Uncertainty around data on plastic beverage containers
Plastic beverage containers are one of the most common single-use plastic packaged products. Two groups have estimated the production and recovery of beverage containers in Aotearoa New Zealand using different approaches.
Capturing plastic packaging data through a supply chain database
The National Product Catalogue is a database containing hundreds of thousands of products traded across and within Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand.
The road to reducing microplastics from tyres
Numerous studies have identified tyre abrasion as the leading cause of microplastics emissions into the environment, far outweighing other sources such as manufacturing resin, washing of synthetic clothing, and fishing gear.
Microplastics from our clothing
Our clothing is a major source of microplastic pollution and we need effective measures to prevent leakage at source.
Compromised landfills at risk during extreme weather
In March 2019, a storm hit the West Coast and washed out the closed Fox River landfill near Fox Glacier. The result was that huge amounts of pollution leaked into the surrounding pristine natural environment.
The PURE tour
The PURE (Plastic Use Resistance Education) tour was a collaborative project combining Indigenous and western science.
Is landfill or incineration of plastic waste preferable?
Recycling plastic is best. But when we can't recycle, should we send plastic to landfill, or burn it to create energy?
Contribution of packaging to carbon footprint of breakfast foods
Food or packaging: which contributes more to the carbon footprint of a breakfast food item?