Thumbs up for recycling scheme

 I called in to Countdown this afternoon and was reminded that soft plastics recycling is back up and running. This is commendable and full marks to Countdown for it.

I can see a couple of potential hurdles though. 

The first, and this is easily fixed, is for people like me to stop being so useless and actually make use of the facility which is being offered. I have been saving soft plastics to bring in for a few weeks now. The weak link is my memory. Every time I walk through the entrance; there it is, and I think "Doh! forgot the plastics again". Here's me - supposedly a greenie (I like to think I am) and I can't even organise myself to bring the plastics, which I have gone to the trouble of separating and keeping, in to the collection point. It's a question of habit though isn't it? Once the habit is formed it will become normal and all will be well.

It's a bit like when single use shopping bags were discontinued a while ago; we got used to it soon enough, even though it usually means transferring everything from the trolley to the back seat of the car and then into the house at the other end. In fact, now we don't even use the bags they still provide for the fruit and vegetables. It's a little bit inconvenient but it does give an opportunity for some impromptu fruit and veg artwork on the conveyor at the checkout - usually smiley faces. And walking around the supermarket, one can see evidence of things changing - I think more and more people are choosing less packaging - or am I just seeing what I want to see?


Which points to the second problem: The idea was a victim of its own success last time when there was simply too much to handle. This time around, if enough people get on board actually to make a difference, it seems to me that the system might quickly be overwhelmed - again. Imagine for a moment that the scheme is a roaring success and half of all the soft plastics which leave the supermarket with the groceries find their way back to the collection bin by the front door - the foyer would quickly become congested and shoppers would have to fight their way through a mountain of plastic just to be able to get inside and buy some more!

The company which runs the scheme is planning to ramp up capacity as they add collection points across the country. Have a look at www.recycling.kiwi.nz for more on that. There's information there about what can and can't be included and it's important to stick to that otherwise there's the risk of contaminating the whole lot with a small amount of the wrong stuff.

Let's hope both of these hurdles are just that, we'll all do our bit, and the system won't buckle under the strain.

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