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Recycling soft plastic

Community effort to recycle soft plastic

An exciting new collaboration between Riverlands School and local business Wineworks has led to the school establishing its own soft plastic recycling programme.

Concerned that soft plastic wrappings commonly found in school lunchboxes weren’t able to be recycled along with the rest of the school’s plastics, students Sophie and Maia investigated possible options for dealing with this waste.  A connection with nearby business Wineworks, via a school parent, led to discussions between the students and Wineworks staff.  Wineworks recycle their own soft plastic, and decided to help, by adding soft plastics from Riverlands School to their programme.  The students visited Wineworks to learn about how the plastic is recycled, and Wineworks provided the school with two large wheelie bins to collect the plastic.

Wineworks visit

Sophie & Maia visit Wineworks

Riverlands students and parents will pitch in to make sure that the collaboration is a success.  Students will make sure that soft plastics go into the correct bin, and the school parent who works at Wineworks will volunteer his time to collect the plastic, take it to Wineworks, and compact it so it can be transported to Auckland for recycling.

Sophie and Maia are keen to expand their programme to the school community and beyond.

‘We’ve started Soft Plastic recycling at Riverlands because there is too much plastic in our lunch boxes and it is all just going to the landfill.  We hope that our school community will bring in all their soft plastic from home! We hope to see other schools following suit and NZ might even be known for recycling soft plastic!’ – Sophie & Maia

Plant Manager at Wineworks Marlborough, Damien Gillman says “WineWorks is proud to be part of a soft plastic recycling programme with our local Riverlands School and are looking to assist other schools in Marlborough in the future. As a major recycler of it’s own soft plastics,  WineWorks thought it was a good idea to extend the offer to some of our local schools to send their soft plastics into WineWorks to be baled (compacted) and sent to Replas in Auckland where it is then melted and made into slip-sheets. These are used by WineWorks to load their clients’ wine into shipping containers so it can be sent all over the world.”

It is wonderful to see students, community and local business working together for the good of our environment.  It is especially exciting that this project was driven by the students, who identified a problem, and then set about finding a solution.  Well done to all involved – ka rawe!