Tetra Pak plans to convert cartons to decking timber

7:07 am on 6 June 2019

Tetra Pak plans to have all of its used beverage cartons recycled in New Zealand and turned into decking timber by the end of the year.

Left to right: Andrew Pooch, MD Tetra Pak Oceania, Gavin Heng, director NZ Plastic Products, and Julie Evans, key account director, Tetra Pak Oceania.

Left to right: Andrew Pooch, MD Tetra Pak Oceania, Gavin Feng, director NZ Plastic Products, and Julie Evans, key account director of Tetra Pak Oceania. Photo: Supplied

At the moment Tetra Pak cartons either go to landfill or are sent overseas to recycling partners in Asia, but the managing director of Tetra Pak Oceania Andrew Pooch said clearly they did not want this to continue.

"We want to be doing something here in New Zealand to use the cartons in a better way."

The company has partnered with New Zealand Plastics Products, a South Auckland wood plastic manufacturer, which will turn the used cartons into a product called wood plastic composite, a substitute for timber.

Mr Pooch said the first thing which will be made from the recycled cartons will be a substitute for decking timber.

The company has been in contact with local councils and hopes the cartons can be picked up in peoples' regular recycling and sent to the South Auckland facility.

Even the plastic caps and straws that come with the cartons will be used as part of the process, binding everything together to make the wood plastic composite.

"To make the process work we actually need the straws, we need the caps, we want the consumers, especially the kids, to put the straws back inside the pack, not throw them on the ground, and then the plant will consume them all."

Tetra Pak is helping New Zealand Plastics Products to purchase some additional machinery which would enable them to shred the cartons before they are used in the wood plastic composite.

Mr Pooch said it will become more problematic to send recycling offshore and the company's ambition is to have it all recycled domestically.

He said the capacity of the South Auckland plant was enough to recycle all Tetra Pak's cartons in the country at the moment, but the logistics of getting the material there from the South Island, could mean that a second recycling plant could be opened in the future.

Mr Pooch said other cartons which have the same composition would also be able to be recycled at the facility.

The companies expect to be in production well before the end of the year.