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Bis and I headed to Timaru last week to shake some hands and shepherd our first load of recycled plastic which we are sending directly offshore to the recycling plants in Asia. People are always interested in where the stuff they drop off to us actually ends up. This project is the start of us reaching out further along the chain and looking at how and where it is actually recycled.

Fork lift action

Our previous buyer provided little detail as to where the product went and our new buyer, Aotearoa International, is giving us much better information – and better prices. Wastebusters hand sorts and then compresses plastics into 225-325kg bales which are 1.3 x 0.7 x 0.7m in dimension. It is a long story, but basically our hand sorted product is considered much better quality than what is currently coming out of the robot sorting lines, and therefore we get a better rate for it.

Our new system involves us trucking enough bales to fill a 40ft shipping container (81) to a port, in this case Timaru. A container is released to us and is filled by a contractor, it is sealed, and then returned to the port for shipment. We used Hiltons Haulage – who are excellent to deal with.

Now we have good relationship with and exporter we’ll start looking at where the material ends up. It did occur to us (horrifyingly) on the drive that the kilo rate may be worth people buying the plastic as a fuel stock. We’ll look into it.

Below is a quick video we shot in Timaru explaining what is going on. Quite useful if you have 20,000kg of plastic lying around you’d like to move on :-)