JUST GOOD BUSINESS BUZZ : Closing the milk loop

Instead of being dispatched to Asia, 100,000 used plastic milk bottles day, collected from around the South Island, are now being recycled through new world-class facility in Christchurch.
The Comspec plant, officially opened by Minister for the Environment Nick Smith in November, was the brainchild of four Canterbury plastics manufacturers who decided to stop relying on others to deal with plastic products after use and do it themselves. As Comspec director Tom Thomson put it: “The more we recycle locally, the more we reduce our energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.”
He noted that using recycled HDPE bottles replaces the need to use virgin plastic and saves an average of one tonne of carbon dioxide for every tonne of plastic recycled. The bottles are shredded, washed, granulated, rinsed and dried to produce cost-effective recycled resin suitable for many applications including drainage pipes, plastic sheeting, wheelie bins and industrial packaging.
The company expects to process 2.5 million bottles year and is looking at opportunities to extend the facility to process other types of plastic resins in New Zealand rather than exporting them. Such plastics are valuable resource and creating higher value recycling markets in New Zealand will increase the economic viability of recovering plastics, says Comspec’s managing director Robert Fowler.

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